View Full Version : Could the Kindle spark book piracy?


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Alexander Turcic
12-06-2007, 09:51 AM
Indeed a valid question, asked by Mathew Ingram of Globe and Mail and Michael Arrington of TechCrunch. Their argument goes like this: The Amazon Kindle does not only support the proprietary Mobipocket e-book format, but also other popular formats such as text or Word. Pirated e-books found on Torrent sites (and elsewhere) could easily be converted into one of the supported formats. In a next step, the filthy pirate could use Amazon's Whispernet or USB connectivity to move these e-books onto his device.

Heck, who knows, maybe Whispernet could even turn into some kind of Darknet where people start swapping pirated e-books like mad. But somehow I doubt this. Have you ever heard of a pirate who is willing to pay $0.10 for every swapped file?

So what do you think? Could the Kindle spark book piracy in near future?

Globe and Mail: Could the Kindle spark book piracy? (http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20071203.WBmingram20071203120722/WBStory/WBmingram)
TechCrunch: Stealing Books For The Kindle Is Trivially Easy (http://www.techcrunch.com/2007/12/02/stealing-books-for-the-kindle-is-trivially-easy/)

kacir
12-06-2007, 10:00 AM
The pool does not ask a good question

The legally purchased content will experience even bigger boost then piracy, because it is much easier to buy a book now than to look for it on the darknet. Also the number of legally available books has increased and the price has dropped.

Nate the great
12-06-2007, 10:05 AM
I don't see how the Kindle could cause an increase in piracy. Piracy often involves rape, murder, arson and grand theft. The Kindle is just a small electronic gadget.

I don't see how the two are related.

Alexander Turcic
12-06-2007, 10:11 AM
The pool does not ask a good question

The legally purchased content will experience even bigger boost then piracy, because it is much easier to buy a book now than to look for it on the darknet. Also the number of legally available books has increased and the price has dropped.

Good point. I quickly edited the second poll choice to take this into account.

jasonkchapman
12-06-2007, 10:32 AM
By lowering the barrier to obtaining legal content, the Kindle is much more likely to reduce infringement than it is to increase it.

Having said that, it is inevitable that infringing material will be converted. I wouldn't be surprised if some of it showed up on Amazon through the self-publication facility. At that point, Amazon is going to be forced into the position of gatekeeper, either by removing offending material at the request of publishers, or by scanning materials at conversion time.

vivaldirules
12-06-2007, 10:40 AM
... the filthy pirate...

Indeed! Let's string him from the yard arm, whatever that is! I think Nate's right. Maybe we should just refer to him as a filthy thief. It's accurate, I think, and would perhaps not turn as many people off. We could even drop the "filthy."

secretsubscribe
12-06-2007, 10:50 AM
$0.10 per Whispernet file transfer aside, if (big if) we see the Kindle become the ereader of choice among the general population we might see a lot of sharing between friends, maybe even a few dark-Whispernet vendors selling their latest scanned book to whoever drop a few bucks in their paypal account.
But it seems a lot easier to format ebooks for kindle and share them back the old fashioned way.
Popularity of any ebook device might spark more piracy. Now sure Whispernet itself will spur that on.

mdibella
12-06-2007, 11:03 AM
EBooks are already available for download, if you know where to look. This is not new. Some of these sites have been around for years.

My own feeling has always been, if I own the book in print format, I don't feel guilty about downloading it in ebook format for easier carrying-around.

I would also point out that even though so many people have iPods (or other mp3 players), and even though pirated mp3 audiobooks can be found all over the net, publishers are still making money selling them. Why would ebooks be any different?

NatCh
12-06-2007, 11:11 AM
I voted "No" because as I see it, Kindle is seeking to make e-books so accessible that the average Joe will never look anywhere else for books. The demographic Amazon has targeted isn't really technically inclined enough to go plumbing the depths of the darknet. That's not a dig at Kindle users, just an observation of Amazon's marketing strategy. I do realize that a lot of the Kindle owners around here are quite tech-savvy, but I think that Amazon has positioned Kindle to appeal mostly to less tech-savvy folks than we tend get hereabouts. :shrug:

Because of that, I don't see e-book boot-leggers -- "book-leggers," if you will -- being very much affected by the Kindle. Sure they make mobi versions of their offerings, but if most of the folks using Kindles never even know they can go looking for them ....

DaleDe
12-06-2007, 11:22 AM
I don't see how the Kindle could cause an increase in piracy. Piracy often involves rape, murder, arson and grand theft. The Kindle is just a small electronic gadget.

I don't see how the two are related.

well, do you like the term forgery better? It is likely closer to the mark.

Dale

joblack
12-06-2007, 11:24 AM
The iLiad and Sony Reader are supporting piracy even more. They support all the nice open formats. But the industry should shut up - theyīre always complaining, but the bosses are driving in big cars ...

AlexC
12-06-2007, 11:34 AM
Likely it will increase illegal copying/sharing, but only because its release will have driven the number of dedicated devices in the hands of people up substantially. Some, when finding that their favorite book, e.g., Harry Potter, isn't available through legit channels will go off to their handy torrent search engine and grab a copy. This doesn't seem too earth shattering... just human nature.

Steven Lyle Jordan
12-06-2007, 11:54 AM
Tough question. On one hand, it's easy enough to get Amazon books for the Kindle, so piracy will not be supported by that.

On the other hand, there are always the books Amazon doesn't carry (and make no mistake, there's plenty of those). If a Kindle reader is looking for such a book, they might find it on the darknet, thereby supporting piracy. And if Kindle does well in the market, there will be more customers potentially looking through that darknet material for hard-to-find books.

Finally, Kindle owners might want to convert printed books they already own into Kindle books, a sort of "back-up" craze, which they (naturally) will expect they shouldn't have to pay for, and will get them free from darknet.

I think the Kindle itself won't necessarily foster piracy... but the growing number of e-book users, coupled with the (lack of) variety of e-books available to Kindle owners, just might.

FYI: I didn't vote, because my feelings are somewhere in the middle here.

Nate the great
12-06-2007, 11:56 AM
well, do you like the term forgery better? It is likely closer to the mark.

Dale

I prefer the term copyright infringement. It is the mark.

I am tired of the misuse of the term piracy to describe what is, for the most part, petty theft.

Penforhire
12-06-2007, 12:01 PM
I say yes but not because of any feature other than increased user base. There is nothing intrinsically easier about placing a pirated e-book on the Kindle versus, say, the Sony reader. However more people using readers means a greater number of pirates, assuming pirate-distribution is flat across all types of readers. :) (we need a pirate smiley)

Alexander Turcic
12-06-2007, 12:06 PM
However more people using readers means a greater number of pirates, assuming pirate-distribution is flat across all types of readers. :) (we need a pirate smiley)

:pirateattack:

HarryT
12-06-2007, 12:13 PM
I prefer the term copyright infringement. It is the mark.

I am tired of the misuse of the term piracy to describe what is, for the most part, petty theft.

Would you make any distinction between the "seriousness" of downloading a copy of a book without paying for it, and re-selling multiple copies of that book on eBay for cash?

I mentioned elsewhere that last year someone was selling duplicated CDs of my software on eBay. It wasn't only my software he was selling, it was all sorts of things - Microsoft, Adobe, Symantec, etc. In the previous month alone, from his past auction results I could see that he'd made over £2000 ($4000) from his auctions of illegal software.

To my mind, that is serious crime, not petty theft. Would you agree?

Steven Lyle Jordan
12-06-2007, 12:28 PM
(we need a pirate smiley)

:pirateattack: (Sorry, Alex beat me to it.)

Maybe making a single copy of a protected work could be considered "petty theft," but the point is, when you can turn around and sell (or make available for free, denying sales to the owner) hundreds or thousands of the same copy, you are potentially moving past petty theft and into piracy.

Penforhire
12-06-2007, 12:38 PM
Agreed. Anyone serving more than a few pirated titles should be hit with RIAA-like lawsuits. Of course first we need consistent worldwide IP-protection laws.

Alisa
12-06-2007, 12:53 PM
Would you make any distinction between the "seriousness" of downloading a copy of a book without paying for it, and re-selling multiple copies of that book on eBay for cash?

I mentioned elsewhere that last year someone was selling duplicated CDs of my software on eBay. It wasn't only my software he was selling, it was all sorts of things - Microsoft, Adobe, Symantec, etc. In the previous month alone, from his past auction results I could see that he'd made over £2000 ($4000) from his auctions of illegal software.

To my mind, that is serious crime, not petty theft. Would you agree?

I would also add uploaders to that. Just because they're not profiting doesn't mean they're not doing a lot of damage. If I copied your software and put it on a torrent site, you're still out the money. I might even move more units that way than the Ebay guy.

Barcey
12-06-2007, 12:55 PM
Yes and car theft has gone through the roof since the 1900's. I think we should go back to the horse and buggy myself.

Just more articles focusing on the negative.

Alexander Turcic
12-06-2007, 01:00 PM
I would also add uploaders to that. Just because they're not profiting doesn't mean they're not doing a lot of damage.

In Switzerland, it's the uploader they are after, not the downloader. In this country, downloading for personal consumption doesn't make it a crime (http://www.heise.de/english/newsticker/news/96732):

One of the most important points of the new act is that downloads of works of art from the Internet for personal use remain legal (PDF file) without restriction. At the same time the law upholds the legal principle whereby technical means such as access and copy-protection measures must not be circumvented.

Steven Lyle Jordan
12-06-2007, 01:04 PM
Yes and car theft has gone through the roof since the 1900's. I think we should go back to the horse and buggy myself.

Horses are a good analogy... they wear blinders too, don't they? ;)

(Hm. Must be something in my water. Maybe it's the bourbon.)

Seriously, I don't think piracy needs any help (or gets any hindrance) from Kindle... it's carrying on fine on its own. We need to focus on how to curtail piracy, whatever its format, not point fingers at certain platforms and devices.

Alisa
12-06-2007, 01:08 PM
Seriously, I don't think piracy needs any help (or gets any hindrance) from Kindle... it's carrying on fine on its own. We need to focus on how to curtail piracy, whatever its format, not point fingers at certain platforms and devices.

I agree. I didn't vote on this poll because it didn't have the option of "no change". I really don't think this will make much of a difference one way or the other. We'll have some more people with reading devices who might download some stuff from the darknets. We'll have more titles available legally so others may not be inclined to download illegally. I think it'll pretty much be a wash.

Alexander Turcic
12-06-2007, 01:11 PM
I agree. I didn't vote on this poll because it didn't have the option of "no change".

Added. ;)

JSWolf
12-06-2007, 01:11 PM
$0.10 per Whispernet file transfer aside, if (big if) we see the Kindle become the ereader of choice among the general population we might see a lot of sharing between friends, maybe even a few dark-Whispernet vendors selling their latest scanned book to whoever drop a few bucks in their paypal account.
But it seems a lot easier to format ebooks for kindle and share them back the old fashioned way.
Popularity of any ebook device might spark more piracy. Now sure Whispernet itself will spur that on.
The only way the Kindle could be the eReader of choice is if eReader is ported over to it and installed in a future firmware upgrade. The Kindle does not presently support eReader books. No eink device supports eReader (with DRM) format ebooks. eReader is a format developed for PDAs and cell phones. It has not really come out of that mode. So please do not confuse the Kindle with eReader.

Steven Lyle Jordan
12-06-2007, 01:17 PM
Added. ;)

Voted!

nekokami
12-06-2007, 01:27 PM
I almost voted "no change," for the same reasons that Steve Jordan listed, but I decided on balance that I think there will be less piracy overall when people can get legal copies of ebooks in the first place. I'm buying new books in ebook format now when possible, rather than paper. If I can't get a book in ebook format, but want a copy for re-reading purposes, I think buying a paper copy (even a used copy) and downloading a scan is acceptable. I'm less fussy about tracking down a paper copy if the work is completely out of print. Eventually my entire re-read library (which is extensive, I re-read a lot) will be converted to digital format by one or the other of these means, and I'll be buying the rest of my content in ebook format-- I'd rather do that from a legitimate outlet that makes it easy for me to find what I'm looking for, is unlikely to give me malware, etc. I'm sure there are people who enjoy trawling the darknet, but I'm not one of them. I think most people would rather get their content via legitimate means.

HarryT, someone who not only shares but re-sells someone else's work is a criminal by my standards and should be prosecuted. But most of the time, software "sharing" has no excuse similar to format-shifting with books.

Here's a possible exception: I recently purchased (used, of course) a copy of Lost Treasures of InfoCom, a collection of interactive fiction. The version I ended up getting is for the old MacOS, which I don't run, and came on single-sided 3.5" floppy disks. I know I can get the files for these games online. I could go through the trouble of extracting the data files from the floppies and the archaic Mac disk format, or I can just download clean data files that will work with Gargoyle, an interactive fiction interpreter. These games are out of print. I think there's no moral problem with retrieving the files, now that I have legal copies. It would be both illegal and immoral, however, for someone (other than Activision) to start selling copies of these files.

Steven Lyle Jordan
12-06-2007, 01:28 PM
The only way the Kindle could be the eReader of choice is if eReader is ported over to it and installed in a future firmware upgrade. The Kindle does not presently support eReader books. No eink device supports eReader (with DRM) format ebooks. eReader is a format developed for PDAs and cell phones. It has not really come out of that mode. So please do not confuse the Kindle with eReader.

Sigh... you know what he meant... :rolleyes:

Y'know, you need a simple disclaimer note that you can just copy and paste as needed, to wit:

"Be advised that the words "Ereader," "ereader" or "e-reader" have been casually used on this forum to mean a generic e-book reading person, device or application. Those words and their use should not be confused with "eReader™," which is a particular e-book reading application that uses the PDB format. eReader™ is the property of eReader.com. All rights reserved."

Or something like that.

Steven Lyle Jordan
12-06-2007, 01:48 PM
Here's a possible exception...

If you'd ordered a book that turned out to be an ugly hardback, you wouldn't consider it okay to walk into the bookstore or library and just take a paperback copy for free. (And neither would the store or library. Ask them.) To balance out the cost, you'd return one and use the refund to buy the other. They are two distinct properties, and both have to be paid for (or returned, in the library's case).

I still hear an issue of believing that electronic versions of documents are essentially worth nothing, and therefore okay to just take at will. I think this attitude towards electronic files is a mistake. Yes, it opens up the illogical position of seemingly creating something from nothing, but in fact, this is a fallacious logic, since electrons configured and energy used are still something, just something too small for you to see with the naked eye. As any doctor or physicist will tell you, being small doesn't mean it doesn't exist.

I think the sooner we understand and accept the fact that electronic files really are definable entities with malleable but distinct characteristics, the sooner we can work out a way to deal with them legally, morally and ethically.

Nate the great
12-06-2007, 02:00 PM
Would you make any distinction between the "seriousness" of downloading a copy of a book without paying for it, and re-selling multiple copies of that book on eBay for cash?

I mentioned elsewhere that last year someone was selling duplicated CDs of my software on eBay. It wasn't only my software he was selling, it was all sorts of things - Microsoft, Adobe, Symantec, etc. In the previous month alone, from his past auction results I could see that he'd made over £2000 ($4000) from his auctions of illegal software.

To my mind, that is serious crime, not petty theft. Would you agree?

As a crime, no. Fifty crimes at £40 does not equal a £2000 crime. A serious criminal, yes.

HarryT
12-06-2007, 02:07 PM
Sigh... you know what he meant... :rolleyes:


:deadhorse:

vivaldirules
12-06-2007, 02:08 PM
I say yes but not because of any feature other than increased user base. There is nothing intrinsically easier about placing a pirated e-book on the Kindle versus, say, the Sony reader. However more people using readers means a greater number of pirates, assuming pirate-distribution is flat across all types of readers. :) (we need a pirate smiley)

I agree. Well stated.

vivaldirules
12-06-2007, 02:12 PM
Sigh... you know what he meant... :rolleyes:

Y'know, you need a simple disclaimer note that you can just copy and paste as needed, to wit:

"Be advised that the words "Ereader," "ereader" or "e-reader" have been casually used on this forum to mean a generic e-book reading person, device or application. Those words and their use should not be confused with "eReaderô," which is a particular e-book reading application that uses the PDB format. eReaderô is the property of eReader.com. All rights reserved."

Or something like that.

I just love this relationship you two have over this! For me, I'm going back to read an ebook on my Ereader....oops, I mean Reader which doesn't have eReader.:)

tristan
12-06-2007, 02:13 PM
If you'd ordered a book that turned out to be an ugly hardback, you wouldn't consider it okay to walk into the bookstore or library and just take a paperback copy for free. (And neither would the store or library. Ask them.) To balance out the cost, you'd return one and use the refund to buy the other. They are two distinct properties, and both have to be paid for (or returned, in the library's case).

That's a straw man argument if I ever heard one.
The book you are taking is the physical property of someone. Downloading a copy of an ebook illegally is more akin to borrowing the book from the library and photocopying it. You are not taking anyone else's physical property.

The thing about information is it now costs next to nothing to reproduce. The media it is on costs, but just copying costs next to nothing nothing. So the marginal cost of producing more is zero (or as close as makes no difference).

If I were to download a book illegally then I would not have actually taken anything away from the publisher or author. They would be no worse off than before hand.

Its a very difficult situation morally because it is nothing like stealing a physical copy of a book, yet we all intrinsically feel that authors should be compensated for the costs in writing the book...

andyafro
12-06-2007, 02:30 PM
I do not think the kindle will spark piracy. Those who pirate games and music will pirate ebooks those who buy there books and music will buy there ebooks.

You can argue ethics all day but it comes down to that - Those who do will, those who don't won't.

I have no problem with downloading a book you want to read but cannot find anywhere else and is not for sale in your format, my problem is with those that then share it or try to make money by selling it on ebay or stuff.

Alot of Pirated ebooks are much like pirated music or films they are usually terrible copies which need hours of attention to get them right, much like films you get a copy of a book just to have a look until you can find a proper copy that is perfectly edited that you would be happy to pay for.

Much like the 7th harry potter book, i pre-ordered and paided for it for my girlfriend but it was nice to find the first 147 pages there on the web for her to read. it was just a sample but enough to keep her going till it came through the post. i also found some Severus Snape book that came before the 7th book that i would never have found in any shops. whats wrong with that i didnt give it to anyone else and i didnt try sell it, so who gets hurt.

Piracy will stay the same, the people that know its wrong will not do it, it leaves a horrible feeling in the gut no matter what the arguement.
and those that do it don't care or have made there case for what they do and nothing will ever change that.

csmith75
12-06-2007, 03:03 PM
I think that the Kindle has done a decent job of making average consumers aware of the ebook readers, which increases the popularity of the device. Any increase in popularity of a particular type of product capable of playing or displaying media will increase piracy.

NatCh
12-06-2007, 03:07 PM
I think the sooner we understand and accept the fact that electronic files really are definable entities with malleable but distinct characteristics, the sooner we can work out a way to deal with them legally, morally and ethically.In the example that nekokami's mentioned, she's talking about software, rather than a book. In that case, she's purchased a license to use the software when she purchased the original copy she referred to. I haven't checked the licensing language for this particular case because my copy of "The Lost Treasures Of Infocom" is still in a moving box somewhere, but typically the license allows for reasonable backup making. Arguably she's just using a backup file of the software she purchased a license for, it's just not a direct backup copy. It is, however, identical to what she'd have gotten if she had made that direct copy.

For paper books like you've mentioned, Steve, there's a physical component to them that doesn't parse well to e-books. The reason you'd return that ugly hardback and buy a paperback is that you can do so. You're returning one physical container for another, and each container is tied to a single copy and vice-versa.

For e-books there is no physical container. That's one of the things we have to keep in mind during that working out how to deal with them you mentioned. :nice:

One huge glaring problem we have right now is that publishers really want to sell licenses to books, so that they keep control over how we use them, but they don't want to allow the same sets of reasonable options that come with software licenses and that make them bearable to the customer.

If they took the licensing thing to its logical conclusion, they would see that regardless of the format I've bought a book in, I can only read one copy of it at a time, and if I've bought (and still have) that one copy, they've been paid for my licensed use of it. If I want to lend or give that copy to someone, I should be permitted to do so under a reasonable license, just as I can let a friend come over and use Excel on my computer or give/sell them my original copy of a game as long as I don't retain access to it.

I guess my main point is that part of the reason that we're having trouble figuring out how to deal with the uniqueness of e-books is that the Publishers (et. al.) don't want to think about what e-books really are and mean to their industry in any reasonable fashion, so they're trying to do things that are mutually incompatible. And they have a lot of power with those who make law in the various nations of the world, and of course, lawmakers are not known for their great ability to recognize mutually incompatible actions, now are they? :sad:

Liviu_5
12-06-2007, 04:22 PM
I think there will no large changes because Kindle in the current incarnation will have a limited impact on e-books.

It may increase sales by some fraction, though the interesting part would be to see if it brings lots of new people to e-books since based on comments everywhere most people buying it as of now are already e-book readers who may not have had the right device until now.

bob_ninja
12-06-2007, 04:30 PM
I voted that it will reduce illegal copying.

As other well written essays explained (linked from forums herein), illegal copying is directly proprtional to the price. Book costing $1,000 will be stolen much more often than the one costing $1. Devices such as Kindle are not that significant. Plenty of students were copying expensive textbooks on Xerox machines decades ago. Of course, Kindle like Sony Reader and others do make it easier. However, there are other means. Given a high enough price, people will find ways even without using eReaders.

Thus the real question is where are book prices headed? I am guessing that Kindle's ease of use and access to eBooks will drive higher sales volume for eBooks which in turn will cause lower prices (higher volume, lower prices). In fact, all the readers combined will drive more volume. Just as Apple generated a lot of volume that gave it significant pricing power, so will happend with eBooks. If they do generate enough volume, Amazon could also lower prices just as Apple did for music.

In that case, sub-$10 price for a book will simply be too low for most readers to bother with illegal means of obtaining books. Once an average book costs less than a single meal then most people will simply download legal books from Amazon and others.

All that being said, there are still a couple of problems. Kindle is too expensive (today). I don't think it will sell enough volume to become as ubiqutous as iPods. Not even close. Especially if US goes into recession. So it may take some (long) time for reader devices to achieve a widespread use and drive the eBook sales volume.

As the other post noted (Kindle is the worst thing that could happend to ebooks) this fragmented market of many formats and DRM schemes will confuse consumers and hold back sales. Consider the latest video format HD vs BluRay, which is only 2 formats, much less than eBooks, yet still sales of discs are very low. Again for simple ease of use we need a single format akin to PDF that would be widely supported. Similarly odd DRM restrictions can also reduce sales.

Thus while Kindle and Amazon will help drive sales, there are still a lot of barriers to wide adoption and lower prices that will more or less kill illegal copying.

nekokami
12-06-2007, 04:34 PM
Thanks, NatCh. I really was just trying to think of an example where "format shifting" would apply to software, and that was what I came up with.

With regards to books, I want to be crystal clear: I pay for the books I read. Either directly, by purchasing a copy, or indirectly, through taxes to my town for use to buy books in the public library. For books that I have paid for directly (not library books), I really don't see the harm of using file sharing sources for format-shifting purposes, and if there was more effort put into making a system which would, in fact, verify ownership of the physical copy before allowing download of the file, I'm not sure it would even be illegal (in the US).

Furthermore, I will go out on a limb here and say that I strongly suspect that the vast majority of people who download ebooks from filesharing systems in fact own the books in paper, or will very shortly buy them-- and would have bought them in legitimate digital form if that were easy and the price were reasonable. Call me crazy, but I think the book-reading population is a lot more likely to try to keep their favorite authors in business than people downloading pop songs or cracked software. Perhaps it's because books are much more strongly tied to individual authors. We know perfectly well whose bread and butter we're impacting if we don't pay authors. With the music, video, and software industries, it's a lot easier for people to forget that there are individuals involved and assume that a faceless corporation won't even notice the missing business. (And yes, HarryT, I know that's often not true for software-- I'm talking about a mistaken perception here.)

bob_ninja
12-06-2007, 04:40 PM
...
One huge glaring problem we have right now is that publishers really want to sell licenses to books, so that they keep control over how we use them, but they don't want to allow the same sets of reasonable options that come with software licenses and that make them bearable to the customer.

If they took the licensing thing to its logical conclusion, they would see that regardless of the format I've bought a book in, I can only read one copy of it at a time, and if I've bought (and still have) that one copy, they've been paid for my licensed use of it. If I want to lend or give that copy to someone, I should be permitted to do so under a reasonable license, just as I can let a friend come over and use Excel on my computer or give/sell them my original copy of a game as long as I don't retain access to it.
...

Actually the new licensing schemes even for software are becoming a real problem/pain. The Personal Computer revolution in part was driven by a very simple model of software sales. You buy it and use it all you want. No licensing/service contract with IBM, no special restrictions, etc. In those days nobody cared. Thus you could keep using your dBase III+ for DOS even today.

Then Microsoft in its quest for ever more profits started crafting new licensing agreements with restrictions and pushing their clients to annual suscriptions, etc. Of course, they are shooting themselves in the foot. Despite all the so called studies showing new licenses are cheaper, everyone knows they are more expensive. Thus they actually promote illegal copying (as evidenced by ever increasing suuply from China despite all the efforts to stop/reduce it) and/or push their customers to alternatives (Linux).

It would be very stupid for publishers to repeat this mistake. Sure they can impose any number of restrictions via new license agreemnts and DRM. Once again they'll simply induce more illegal copying and/or push people to alternatives (Gutenberg). After all there is a huge amount of good content already available in public domain!!!!

This whole licensing game is quite pointless. Why do companies have to be so blind?

sianon
12-06-2007, 04:44 PM
:deadhorse:

Harry, you shoudln't indulge in cruelty to animals in public.

volwrath
12-06-2007, 06:21 PM
Piracy will without a doubt increase. More ebook readers sold, more piracy... But the ratio of legit to pirated books will increase

bingle
12-06-2007, 06:48 PM
I voted that it will increase piracy, but I think it depends on what you mean by "increase". Just as with the iPod, there will be a new group of people who look to the internet for free content for their new device. This demand will increase the number of files floating around and books digitized, as well as increasing the downloads for each file.

However, I think more people will buy the Kindle with a view to legally acquiring content than those who buy it in order to pirate. No doubt almost everyone who owns one will engage in a little casual piracy, much as they do with digital music these days, but most people will be happy to buy books from Amazon.

So... the amount of piracy will increase, but the proportion won't. It might even decrease.

RWood
12-06-2007, 07:48 PM
As more people have ebook readers, more will look for free sources. The rise of piracy will be a direct result.

mdibella
12-06-2007, 08:14 PM
Steve, I don't think that anyone is saying that electronic versions have no value. In my case, it is more a sense of feeling that if I own a paper copy of a book, I have in effect already purchased the content. Do you, as an author, feel it is wrong for someone to download electronic versions of books they already own?

How about taking those books and scanning them into ebook format? Is that wrong?

kovidgoyal
12-06-2007, 08:24 PM
You need to add an option that says something like "E-book piracy is already a thriving activity"

NatCh
12-06-2007, 08:40 PM
Wouldn't that fall under the third, "no change" option? :headscratch:

kovidgoyal
12-06-2007, 08:45 PM
I guess, but it's more dramatic this way :)

rflashman
12-06-2007, 09:02 PM
Maybe its this discussion that will spark book piracy... until I saw this forum the thought had not occurred to me. Now I'm wondering... is there a booktorrents.com or other bizarre operation taking place that I'm not aware of? (tongue in cheek)

NatCh
12-06-2007, 10:54 PM
I guess, but it's more dramatic this way :)Point. :pleased:


... is there a booktorrents.com or other bizarre operation taking place that I'm not aware of? (tongue in cheek)Of course there is! You could spend your life cataloging the cussed things and still not know about all of them :wink:

Alexander Turcic
12-07-2007, 04:36 AM
Maybe its this discussion that will spark book piracy... until I saw this forum the thought had not occurred to me.

I believe there is no security through obscurity. Hiding from a fact does not make it any safer. And I also believe in constructive discussions, no matter how controversial the topic. ;)

TadW
12-07-2007, 04:57 AM
I hope that the publishing industry will study history and learn from the mistakes of the music industry. We don't need a second RIAA.

And what's so different with the Kindle? People have been pirating e-books for as long as I can remember, and yet I haven't heard a single word about the imminent death of the book industry. Stop crying.

astra
12-07-2007, 06:12 AM
I believe the level of the darknet ebook traffic is going to increase.

There are two reasons.

1. Because Kindle is so famous and more people are learning about ebook readers and buy them, there will be more people who realise that they cannot read what they do want to read - on the very expensive ebook reader they bought (as I mentioned before, there are so many books that you cannot buy in ebook format such as Glean Cook - Black Company, Robert Jordan - Wheel of Time, Steven Erikson - Malazan Book of the Fallen and many more). After paying a lot of money for the reader and being hooked to it and realising just too later about it, people will turn to the darknet.

Mind you, the reason is not - money. They would love to pay money for the books they would like to read but they will not be able to.


2. The more people buy ebook readers, the faster will grow a number of people who, until today, are blissfully unaware of all the problems that DRM introduce. When they switch reading devices in 1-2 year time or any other situation when they are going to encounter DRM related problems and realise they cannot read books they bought 1-2 years ago for their well-earned money....they are going to get a little bit upset...

donovanh
12-07-2007, 07:05 AM
I take exception to my religion being bashed like this! Pirates are supreme beings and have no time for footling around with dinky electronic gizmos. They spend their time in search of wenches, grog, booty and shenanigans. Also being Filthy is a virtue and should not be abused in such a perjorative underhanded manner.

RAmen.

wgrimm
12-07-2007, 08:02 AM
If you'd ordered a book that turned out to be an ugly hardback, you wouldn't consider it okay to walk into the bookstore or library and just take a paperback copy for free. (And neither would the store or library. Ask them.) To balance out the cost, you'd return one and use the refund to buy the other. They are two distinct properties, and both have to be paid for (or returned, in the library's case).

I still hear an issue of believing that electronic versions of documents are essentially worth nothing, and therefore okay to just take at will.......

There are some problems with this logic. First, both hardback and paperback books are tangible physical objects, that have definite costs because of the raw materials needed to make them. No raw materials, aside from the text itself, are needed to make an ebook.

The biggest problem with this argument is the inevitable comparison with the Ipod. If I own a music cd, should I have to pay more money to listen to it on my Ipod? Neither Apple (by providing the functionality to rip cd's) nor many others would argue the opposite. The consensus seems to be that if a person purchases a music cd, he should be able to listen to its contents on an Ipod.

Now consider e-books. What some are saying is the exact opposite- well, you bought a hardbound book, and now you have to pay another $15 or so to read that on an electronic reading device. Shell out cash for something that cost essentially ZERO to produce. That just doesn't seem right..............And as far as I know, not a single publisher is offering people the option to return a paper book for an ebook.

I bought a copy of Singh's "Mac OS X Internals" several months ago. Overpriced, of course- I paid around $70 for it (list is $80 I think). If I want to access it at work, I have to carry it in with me- and it's a heavy object to lug. Would be nice to have an e-book version....Guess what!! There IS an e-book version, pdf. And I ONLY have to pay $49.95 to be a good boy and RE-PURCHASE it. Or should I grab, for free, a .chm version that has been posted on the net? Ethically, why should I be required to RE-PURCHASE this content? Spend $49.95 on something that cost about ZERO to produce?

nekokami
12-07-2007, 08:07 AM
Format shifting is legal in the US with regards to music, and by extension, probably books as well. But it's not legal in some countries, including the UK, apparently.

vivaldirules
12-07-2007, 08:50 AM
I take exception to my religion being bashed like this! Pirates are supreme beings and have no time for footling around with dinky electronic gizmos. They spend their time in search of wenches, grog, booty and shenanigans. Also being Filthy is a virtue and should not be abused in such a perjorative underhanded manner.

RAmen.

A witch! Let's burn him!!

HarryT
12-07-2007, 09:09 AM
I bought a copy of Singh's "Mac OS X Internals" several months ago. Overpriced, of course- I paid around $70 for it (list is $80 I think). If I want to access it at work, I have to carry it in with me- and it's a heavy object to lug. Would be nice to have an e-book version....Guess what!! There IS an e-book version, pdf. And I ONLY have to pay $49.95 to be a good boy and RE-PURCHASE it. Or should I grab, for free, a .chm version that has been posted on the net? Ethically, why should I be required to RE-PURCHASE this content? Spend $49.95 on something that cost about ZERO to produce?

Why didn't you just buy the eBook version in the first place? You would have saved $20, and had something that was more convenient to carry around.

I'm a little unclear about why you say that you are being "required" to repurchase it; nobody is going to force you to do so. All you have to do is make the decision as to whether having the eBook is worth $49 to you. If it is, buy it, if it isn't, don't. Is is "ethical" to take the eBook without paying for it? Personally I'd say not. Is it legal? Absolutely not!

HarryT
12-07-2007, 09:11 AM
Format shifting is legal in the US with regards to music, and by extension, probably books as well.

It's not that clear-cut. See:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fair_use

wgrimm
12-07-2007, 09:30 AM
Why didn't you just buy the eBook version in the first place? You would have saved $20, and had something that was more convenient to carry around.

I'm a little unclear about why you say that you are being "required" to repurchase it; nobody is going to force you to do so. All you have to do is make the decision as to whether having the eBook is worth $49 to you. If it is, buy it, if it isn't, don't. Is is "ethical" to take the eBook without paying for it? Personally I'd say not. Is it legal? Absolutely not!


There was no e-book version at the time I purchased the paper version. I might have considered buying it, even though it is published in a DRM'd .pdf format. Thanks to the "pirates," I can now grab a copy in .chm, which is easy to put on a reader. I am a paying customer, but all thye publisher has done is make things difficult and expensive for me, and forces me to deal with a crappy DRM scheme if I want to legally purchase their e-book. No wonder the ebook market is thriving.....

Now, I AM being required to repurchase the book if I want to have it in an e-format. Force me to do so? No, of course not. But, since I already own the p-book, at least according to US law, I CAN legally have an e-book format- what the heck is the difference whether I scan it in myself or download it from the net? Like a music cd- if I own it, I can have it in mp3 format. And ethically, I think I am justified also. Look at it this way- if I was a bad guy, a horrible "ebook pirate," I would have just grabbed an un-DRMd pirate copy of the book, period. No cash in for the publisher. As it stands, the publisher already got my $70- no way am I going to be a sap and send him $50 more. If that's what he expects, he will lose my business altogether.

wgrimm
12-07-2007, 09:52 AM
Why didn't you just buy the eBook version in the first place? You would have saved $20, and had something that was more convenient to carry around.



Look, I wouldn't mind paying, say, $5 for an e-book copy of a paper book I own, given that the ebook is not DRMd. But as a consumer, I am not going to support any idiot schemes that require crappy DRM or allow a publisher to rip me off.

Furthermore, I am very surprised that no one mentions library services in these discussions- like Safari from O'Reilly. I have belonged to several of these over the years and- if I wanted- could have copied all of the books they have. Aren't these a huige source for piracy?

When one considers digital media, given the fact that it costs nothing to produce a new copy, some of the old economic rules have to be reconsidered.
It seems that producers want to keep only the old rules that benefit them. For example, the customer must pay almost paper book prices for the e-book, but he does not have the right to return or resell the e-book. The reality of the digital marketplace is that you have sunk costs (the costs required to actually produce the work) and you have extremely minimal dfistribution costs- you don't have to buy paper and ink, etc. You aren't offering a tangible physical product, so your prices should go down. But greed steps in at this point, and the publisher thinks- hey, I can increase profit per copy sold tremewndously, because I have just eliminated raw resource cost, transportation cost, etc. The reality of this situation is that market forces will drive prices down and, in the end, publishers distributing electronically will probably make about the same amount per work as they do
under the old system.

And hopefully books might get better as a result. Publishers should realize that, with today's digital technology, the ONLY real function they serve is as a filtering mechanism- to keep the real crap off of our electronic bookshelves. I think we'll see more authors going off on their own, sans publisher, once they are established in the e-market....

HarryT
12-07-2007, 09:56 AM
There was no e-book version at the time I purchased the paper version.

I see the issue now!

But, since I already own the p-book, at least according to US law, I CAN legally have an e-book format

I wouldn't be so sure about that; read the "Fair Use" article I posted a link to previously. Of course, in practical terms, nobody is going to prosecute you for scanning a book that you've bought for your own personal use, but it's not clear at all that this constitutes "fair use". Scanning a small portion of the book would, but the whole thing? That's far from clear.

- what the heck is the difference whether I scan it in myself or download it from the net?

Because the version that's on the net is illegal. Creating a legal version yourself is an entirely different thing from download an illegal one.

Like a music cd- if I own it, I can have it in mp3 format. And ethically, I think I am justified also. Look at it this way- if I was a bad guy, a horrible "ebook pirate," I would have just grabbed an un-DRMd pirate copy of the book, period. No cash in for the publisher. As it stands, the publisher already got my $70- no way am I going to be a sap and send him $50 more. If that's what he expects, he will lose my business altogether.

I completely appreciate your point of view and I'd feel annoyed if I were in the same boat. However, I wouldn't download the illegal version. That's just my personal perspective.

HarryT
12-07-2007, 10:04 AM
When one considers digital media, given the fact that it costs nothing to produce a new copy, some of the old economic rules have to be reconsidered.
It seems that producers want to keep only the old rules that benefit them. For example, the customer must pay almost paper book prices for the e-book, but he does not have the right to return or resell the e-book. The reality of the digital marketplace is that you have sunk costs (the costs required to actually produce the work) and you have extremely minimal dfistribution costs- you don't have to buy paper and ink, etc. You aren't offering a tangible physical product, so your prices should go down.

In the case you quote, an $80 pBook being offered as a $50 eBook, that seems like a pretty reasonable pricing structure to me; the $30 difference is a fair representation of the fact that the publisher has no printing or distribution costs.

You can't expect a publisher to lower the price of e-Book because it has no resale value, however. The publisher doesn't receive back any of the value, after all, when the paper book is resold.

I agree with you - it would be very nice, with books like this, if the publisher were to allow purchasers of the pBook to download the eBook for a nominal sum. Many of the programming books I've bought lately have come with a CD containing an eBook version included with the pBook.

Steven Lyle Jordan
12-07-2007, 10:05 AM
Thanks to the "pirates," I can now grab a copy in .chm, which is easy to put on a reader. I am a paying customer...

No, clearly, you're not, if you're downloading stuff from pirates.

Now, I AM being required to repurchase the book if I want to have it in an e-format. Force me to do so? No, of course not. But, since I already own the p-book, at least according to US law, I CAN legally have an e-book format- what the heck is the difference whether I scan it in myself or download it from the net?

An e-book is still a distinct product, as separate from a printed book as a hardback is separate from a paperback, and a CD is separate from a cassette tape. You have no right to take one because you already own the other. You can legally make a copy from the material you own, for yourself, and only you, to use. That's as far as legality goes.

Like a music cd- if I own it, I can have it in mp3 format. And ethically, I think I am justified also.

You are "justified" to make a copy from the material you own, for yourself, in another format. You are not "justified" to take someone else's copy, any more than you are justified to walk into a bookstore and steal a paperback because you already own the hardback. You are also not "justified" to take your copy and give it to others without compensating the original creator/publisher (which, based on your comments, I suppose we can assume you do).

Just because it's easy, doesn't make it right, or "justified." What part of this isn't sinking in?

wgrimm
12-07-2007, 10:07 AM
Because the version that's on the net is illegal. Creating a legal version yourself is an entirely different thing from download an illegal one.



This is where our perspectives part ways. Given 2 files that are identical, how can one be inherently legal and the other inherently illegal? Consider, if a person is taken to court, and convicted based on the prosecutions' allegations that he possessed an "illegal file,", well, what happens when the case is appealed because the prosecution had actually used a "legal" copy of the file that the defendant possessed as evidence? Silly, isn't it? A difference which makes no difference isn't much of a difference. If I have in my possession 2 identically sized .chm files that are scanned copies of a paper book, the only difference between them that 1 was downloaded from the net and one produced by me, how can one or the other be inherently legal or illegal?

Any argument denoting such is fallacious because substituting one file with the other leaves you with the same result- you possess the same file. No, what we should be looking at here is a licensing issue.

wgrimm
12-07-2007, 10:16 AM
No, clearly, you're not, if you're downloading stuff from pirates.



An e-book is still a distinct product, as separate from a printed book as a hardback is separate from a paperback, and a CD is separate from a cassette tape. You have no right to take one because you already own the other. You can legally make a copy from the material you own, for yourself, and only you, to use. That's as far as legality goes.



You are "justified" to make a copy from the material you own, for yourself, in another format. You are not "justified" to take someone else's copy, any more than you are justified to walk into a bookstore and steal a paperback because you already own the hardback. You are also not "justified" to take your copy and give it to others without compensating the original creator/publisher (which, based on your comments, I suppose we can assume you do).

Just because it's easy, doesn't make it right, or "justified." What part of this isn't sinking in?

Here is what isn't sinking in- take 2 files, both .chm files containing content from a paper book, both with the same name, content, and date stamp. I created one, I downloaded the other. Assume I delete one of the copies, and can't remember which one I currently possess, the one I created or the one downloaded from the net- am I breaking the law? Prove I own an "illegal copy". What is your evidence- the file whose source cannot be determined? Now, is my argument starting to sink in?

We are talking licensing here- if I own a paper book, I have already paid for the content. If I can rip a music cd, seems I should be able to rip a book. And if I rip a book thjat I own and my file cannot be distinguished from a "pirated" file available on the net, well, has any wrongdoinmg been committed?

If publisher's think most consumers are going to buy separate copies of books so they can be read on their readers, they are wrong. What's the next step in restrictive licensing- buying 2 paper copies of the book, so that one can be read on days Mon-Fri, and the other only on the weekends? The key factor here is that an ebook costs almost ZERO to produce- why should people have to pay for ebook content that they have already paid one time for?

Steven Lyle Jordan
12-07-2007, 10:19 AM
Given 2 files that are identical, how can one be inherently legal and the other inherently illegal?

You're still using semantics to cloud the issue. Identicality isn't the issue. I can hold a paperback in one hand, and an identical paperback in the other hand, but if one was stolen, or created by someone who didn't own the content, that one is "illegal," and all appropriate laws apply.

HarryT
12-07-2007, 10:26 AM
Here is what isn't sinking in- take 2 files, both .chm files containing content from a paper book, both with the same name, content, and date stamp. I created one, I downloaded the other. Assume I delete one of the copies, and can't remember which one I currently possess, the one I created or the one downloaded from the net- am I breaking the law? Prove I own an "illegal copy". What is your evidence- the file whose source cannot be determined? Now, is my argument starting to sink in?


Sorry, no, it's not.

To use an analogy, there's a big "black market" in the UK with people buying alcohol and cigarettes from France, where the taxes on these particular goods are much lower than here in the UK, and then re-selling them here. If I buy a bottle of Bell's whisky that someone has brought from France then I'm breaking the law in buying a bottle of whisky that hasn't had UK taxes paid on it. It doesn't matter that it's an identical bottle of whisky to the one that I could buy in my local supermarket and that, if I stood the two side by side, I couldn't tell which was which. One came from a legal source, the other from an illegal one.

If publisher's think most consumers are going to buy separate copies of books so they can be read on their readers, they are wrong. What's the next step in restrictive licensing- buying 2 paper copies of the book, so that one can be read on days Mon-Fri, and the other only on the weekends? The key factor here is that an ebook costs almost ZERO to produce- why should people have to pay for ebook content that they have already paid one time for?

Sorry - I've done both; rebought e-Books that I have paper versions of (I've just bought an eBook version of Philip Pullman's "His Dark Materials" trilogy, despite having it as a hardback already) and bought multiple paper versions of books, for all sorts of different reasons. I don't believe that I'm an idiot (although some may disagree, of course). I'm sure that I'm not alone in having done both these things.

jasonkchapman
12-07-2007, 10:33 AM
Consider, if a person is taken to court, and convicted based on the prosecutions' allegations that he possessed an "illegal file,", well, what happens when the case is appealed because the prosecution had actually used a "legal" copy of the file that the defendant possessed as evidence?

You're assuming that the case is based on the file. What if the case isn't about possessing an illegal file? What if the case is about illegally obtaining the file? It's similar to the fact that stolen money isn't "illegal" money. The means of acquisition is what's in question.

wgrimm
12-07-2007, 10:36 AM
You're still using semantics to cloud the issue. Identicality isn't the issue. I can hold a paperback in one hand, and an identical paperback in the other hand, but if one was stolen, or created by someone who didn't own the content, that one is "illegal," and all appropriate laws apply.

Your argument is wrong because you are comparing physical objects with digital files. Digital files can be copied infinitely, at almost zero cost per copy. In the case of the paperback, it costs money to produce, and raw materials. If one is stolen, somebody has lost some money.

With a digital file, if I own a copy of the content in paper format, has anyone lost money no matter how I otained it? No, certainly not. If publishers want the ebook market to take off, they had better lighten up some. When I buy an ebook and lose the rights to resell and other rights that I have with a paper book, and I pay almost the same price for the ebook as for the pbook, well, it's not a very good deal.

Look at all of the advantages the publisher is gaining- the ability to distribute books at almost zero cost (not including sunk costs required to produce the book), the ability to publish in multiple language markets at reduced costs, the ability to keep ALL of the titles he sells "in print," all the time. If e-books are going to sell well, the consumers want some perks too.

We aren't talking physical objects, but rather "digital objects." If I bought a license to use M$ CrapOS 98, does it matter whether I load it onto a machine from the distro disk, or from a borrowed disk, or from a set of files across a network? No, it doesn't.

HarryT
12-07-2007, 10:47 AM
Your argument is wrong because you are comparing physical objects with digital files. Digital files can be copied infinitely, at almost zero cost per copy. In the case of the paperback, it costs money to produce, and raw materials. If one is stolen, somebody has lost some money.


But the SOURCE that you download from can still be illegal; that's the point. A copyrighted MP3 file on a bittorrent server is illegal, regardless of whether or not either the poster or the downloader owns the CD that song is from.

wgrimm
12-07-2007, 10:50 AM
You're assuming that the case is based on the file. What if the case isn't about possessing an illegal file? What if the case is about illegally obtaining the file? It's similar to the fact that stolen money isn't "illegal" money. The means of acquisition is what's in question.

Stolen money is indeed "illegal" money, because someone has lost property, they have suffered financial loss. The means of acquisition is part of the crime, but they key factor is LOSS OF PROPERTY. In the case of an ebook, nobody has lost any property if someone that already owns that content in the form of a pbook, even if he acquires the files over the net.

We're talking licensing here- if I own a copy of Windows OS, it is not so much that I own the physical distro disk as it is that I have paid for the right to use the software. I have licensed it. It doesn't matter if I install it from the original distro cd, or from an .iso image downloaded from the net, or from a friend's cd. MS doesn't care, as long as you bought that license. So why should book publishers?

Ethics? I thionk the bigger factor here are market forces, and consumer demand. And these are working to force the price of information, whether ebooks or movies or music, down. It's a trend that won't stop.

wgrimm
12-07-2007, 10:55 AM
But the SOURCE that you download from can still be illegal; that's the point. A copyrighted MP3 file on a bittorrent server is illegal, regardless of whether or not either the poster or the downloader owns the CD that song is from.

Perhaps in Britain. But here, no. Prove that the mp3 I had is illegal, while I am waving my 100% legally purchased cd in front of you. How will you prove that I didn't create the mp3 myself?

Actually, I don't use mp3s, only lossless formats, but let's just assume for the case of argument. The traditional rules are changing, whether publishers like it or not. The big gain for the actual producers of content that I see is the potential to pull in vastly more income. If authors play their cards right, I think they can greatly reduce what the middlemen now keep for their own.

wgrimm
12-07-2007, 11:13 AM
Sorry, no, it's not.

To use an analogy, there's a big "black market" in the UK with people buying alcohol and cigarettes from France, where the taxes on these particular goods are much lower than here in the UK, and then re-selling them here. If I buy a bottle of Bell's whisky that someone has brought from France then I'm breaking the law in buying a bottle of whisky that hasn't had UK taxes paid on it. It doesn't matter that it's an identical bottle of whisky to the one that I could buy in my local supermarket and that, if I stood the two side by side, I couldn't tell which was which. One came from a legal source, the other from an illegal one.


Just had to comment on this- what an example of big govt. in action. You can buy an "illegal" bottle of Bell's, which I believe is distilled in Scotland, at a cheaper price if re-imported from France, which I presume has already had French taxes paid on it. Frankly, I think the solution here is for your govt. to reduce their taxes.

We have similar idiocy here- if you live in Ohio, the state rooks you on alcohol taxes. Kentucky does not, at least as badly. So, if you live along the border, in Cincinnati, for example, you drive over to Kentucky to buy liquor and save $5 per bottle or more. Illegal? Of course. Does everyone do it? Of course. Will anyone ever be convicted of smuggling 5 or 6 bottles of liquor across the border? Of course not. Not when your friendly neighborhood judge has stocked his basement bar with Kentucky liquor.

jasonkchapman
12-07-2007, 11:16 AM
Your argument is wrong because you are comparing physical objects with digital files. Digital files can be copied infinitely, at almost zero cost per copy. In the case of the paperback, it costs money to produce, and raw materials. If one is stolen, somebody has lost some money.

So the proper comparison would be squatting. Let's say someone who doesn't want to be bothered getting his own place to live simply picks the locks (without doing any damage) and camps out in someone's home while they're away. As long as he doesn't do any damage or incur any additional charges for the owner, everything is cool, because the squatter is just using space that the homeowner wouldn't have had use of anyway.

HarryT
12-07-2007, 11:24 AM
Just had to comment on this- what an example of big govt. in action. You can buy an "illegal" bottle of Bell's, which I believe is distilled in Scotland, at a cheaper price if re-imported from France, which I presume has already had French taxes paid on it. Frankly, I think the solution here is for your govt. to reduce their taxes.


It's just one of those things - the UK has always had high taxes on alcohol and cigarettes, and France has had lower taxes. On the other hand, the general rate of VAT is 19.6% in France, compared with 17.5% in the UK. The tax on cigarettes is deliberately very high in the UK as a means of trying to encourage people to stop smoking. It's an approach which appears to be working.

The different countries of the EU all tax things in slightly different ways, but the overall tax burden works out pretty similar in the end.

wgrimm
12-07-2007, 11:26 AM
So the proper comparison would be squatting. Let's say someone who doesn't want to be bothered getting his own place to live simply picks the locks (without doing any damage) and camps out in someone's home while they're away. As long as he doesn't do any damage or incur any additional charges for the owner, everything is cool, because the squatter is just using space that the homeowner wouldn't have had use of anyway.

How would this be a proper comparison at all? He is living in a place, using facilities, and that costs money. Electric and gas cost money. He is invading privacy, and that has resulted in damages being awarded in many court cases. If he doesn't clean up after himself, he is costing money. The squatter is indeed causing a loss.

The question is, are we going to treat e-books like physical objects (like a hardcover book), or like a digital object (similar to a software program). If you treat ebooks like a physical object, which they are not, I think it is only reasonable that you award consumers the same rights that they would have if they buy a physical book- no DRM, right to resell, etc. Why should the consumer get the shaft if we are treating an e-book as a physical object?

If ebook consumers are shafted with bad pricing and worse laws, the ebook market will not grow. Period.

jasonkchapman
12-07-2007, 11:37 AM
How would this be a proper comparison at all? He is living in a place, using facilities, and that costs money. Electric and gas cost money. He is invading privacy, and that has resulted in damages being awarded in many court cases. If he doesn't clean up after himself, he is costing money. The squatter is indeed causing a loss.


Who said he was using facilities? Who said he was using electricity or gas? Maybe he's just sitting quietly in the corner.

And you certainly can't fall back on the "right" to privacy. That's an even more nebulous legal fiction than copyright. As long as the squatter incurs no additional costs to the homeowner, it is exactly the same thing: making use of something without permission while not costing the homeowner anything.

HarryT
12-07-2007, 11:41 AM
Perhaps someone pitching a tent in your front yard might be a better analogy. They aren't costing the homeowner anything by doing so, so where's the harm?

Of course, if this took place in Texas, someone would probably shoot them :).

astra
12-07-2007, 11:42 AM
Who said he was using facilities? Who said he was using electricity or gas? Maybe he's just sitting quietly in the corner.

And you certainly can't fall back on the "right" to privacy. That's an even more nebulous legal fiction than copyright. As long as the squatter incurs no additional costs to the homeowner, it is exactly the same thing: making use of something without permission while not costing the homeowner anything.


With due respect, your example is out of line. You are getting a bit desperate...

astra
12-07-2007, 11:43 AM
Of course, if this took place in Texas, someone would probably shoot them :).

LOL.
They (the shooters) would be right, though :D

jasonkchapman
12-07-2007, 11:48 AM
With due respect, yuor example is out of line. You are getting a bit desperate...

I'm open to rebuttal. And if I were proven wrong, it wouldn't be the first time. I'm not sure what "desperate" has to do with it, though. What is it that you think I'm desperate to do?

NatCh
12-07-2007, 12:04 PM
Of course, if this took place in Texas, someone would probably shoot them :).Setting aside situations where the the Federal Immigration folks are on hand to protect the tent pitcher: yeah, their getting shot is a good possibility. :cowboy:

astra
12-07-2007, 12:30 PM
What is it that you think I'm desperate to do?

Desperate to prove your point.

Nate the great
12-07-2007, 12:37 PM
I think piracy will increase, now that so many textbooks are available.

Which age group has the largest concentration of pirates? college students
What do they spend $400 to $800 on each semester? textbooks
If an illegal copy is known to be available, how likely is it that the average student will get it?

jasonkchapman
12-07-2007, 01:16 PM
Desperate to prove your point.

As far as I know, I wasn't trying to prove any kind of point. I was simply suggesting a real-world model to supplant the terms "theft" and "piracy", since those terms don't work.

I guess, if you stretch it, you could say I was arguing in support of the proposition that copyright infringement is wrong by comparing it to a real-world model that is distasteful, but If I appeared desperate to prove that, it's probably just because I'm not as good a writer as I'd like to be.

vivaldirules
12-07-2007, 01:22 PM
Of course, if this took place in Texas, someone would probably shoot them :).

Probably witches. Burn 'em! :)

NatCh
12-07-2007, 01:47 PM
There's always hanging ... yes, bullets are cheap, but you can use a rope over and over again. :D

tompe
12-07-2007, 01:51 PM
You are "justified" to make a copy from the material you own, for yourself, in another format. You are not "justified" to take someone else's copy, any more than you are justified to walk into a bookstore and steal a paperback because you already own the hardback. You are also not "justified" to take your copy and give it to others without compensating the original creator/publisher (which, based on your comments, I suppose we can assume you do).

Just because it's easy, doesn't make it right, or "justified." What part of this isn't sinking in?

Is this a legal or moral argument? In some countries it can be perfectly legal to get a electronic copy from somebody else of a book you own (if they are giving the copy to you). Why is it not justified to do something that is legal?

wgrimm
12-07-2007, 02:41 PM
You are also not "justified" to take your copy and give it to others without compensating the original creator/publisher (which, based on your comments, I suppose we can assume you do).

Just because it's easy, doesn't make it right, or "justified." What part of this isn't sinking in?

This is an entirely ridiculous assumption. Where, in ANY post I have made, have I EVER claimed that I distributed any electronic copies of any texts? You can't assume this at all, because it is a fallacious assumption.

How much money have YOU spent on ebooks in your life? Care to bet that I have spent more?

bingle
12-07-2007, 02:44 PM
You are "justified" to make a copy from the material you own, for yourself, in another format. You are not "justified" to take someone else's copy, any more than you are justified to walk into a bookstore and steal a paperback because you already own the hardback. You are also not "justified" to take your copy and give it to others without compensating the original creator/publisher (which, based on your comments, I suppose we can assume you do).

Just because it's easy, doesn't make it right, or "justified." What part of this isn't sinking in?


OK, I'm interested in where you think the "justified" line is drawn. I'm going to put up a series of scenarios. Please tell me which ones you think are morally justified. I'll use CDs instead of books, because that's easier. (But please tell me if you think there's a difference between CDs and books in this sense).

1) A person buys a CD, and then buys the DRMed digital version of the album on iTunes in addition.

2) A person buys a CD, and then buys the non-DRMed digital version of the album on Amazon.

3) A person buys a CD, then rips the CD to MP3s for their own personal use.

4) A person buys a CD, then gives the CD to a company which provides them with MP3 files from the disc.

5) A person buys a disc from a company, which forwards their details to another company, which has MP3 files of every CD available. The person downloads the files separately, for free.

6) A person buys a disc from a company, scans in the barcode for verification, then downloads the MP3s from an unaffiliated company.

7) A person buys a CD from a company, then goes online to download the MP3s from an unaffiliated site.

wgrimm
12-07-2007, 03:02 PM
Speaking of the Kindle, here is a blog response from ZD:

http://blogs.zdnet.com/hardware/?p=1023&tag=nl.e539

NatCh
12-07-2007, 03:03 PM
Okay, this is a good discussion and I'm getting a lot from it. However, I want to interject a general statement encouraging calmness in continuing it. :nice:

Not because I think anyone has gotten out of line, and not aimed at anyone in particular, just because this seems to be a topic that folks can easily get all het up about, and that would kill the discussion, which would be a shame.

So, please, let's each make a particular effort to keep the discussion on a hypothetical basis, so that we can keep trading ideas without unintentionally getting anyone worked up by even seeming to get personal with it.

Thanks!

wgrimm
12-07-2007, 03:05 PM
From the ZD Blog:

When someone buys a book, they are also buying the right to resell that book, to loan it out, or to even give it away if they want. Everyone understands this.

Jeff Bezos, Open letter to Authorís Guild, 2002

You may not sell, rent, lease, distribute, broadcast, sublicense or otherwise assign any rights to the Digital Content or any portion of it to any third party, and you may not remove any proprietary notices or labels on the Digital Content. In addition, you may not, and you will not encourage, assist or authorize any other person to, bypass, modify, defeat or circumvent security features that protect the Digital Content.

Amazon, Kindle Terms of Service, 2007

rlauzon
12-07-2007, 03:11 PM
Which just validates my assertion that when you pay money for a DRMed eBook, you are licensing the eBook - not "buying" it.

It is no different than any other rental and should be priced accordingly.

ginolee
12-07-2007, 03:14 PM
From the ZD Blog:

When someone buys a book, they are also buying the right to resell that book, to loan it out, or to even give it away if they want. Everyone understands this.

Jeff Bezos, Open letter to Authorís Guild, 2002

You may not sell, rent, lease, distribute, broadcast, sublicense or otherwise assign any rights to the Digital Content or any portion of it to any third party, and you may not remove any proprietary notices or labels on the Digital Content. In addition, you may not, and you will not encourage, assist or authorize any other person to, bypass, modify, defeat or circumvent security features that protect the Digital Content.

Amazon, Kindle Terms of Service, 2007

When you buy a physical book, only one person can be in possession of that book at any given point in time. This is why it's legal to loan it out, or even to give it away.

When you buy an electronic book, without DRM, it's all too easy for one purchase to turn into one purchase + multiple copies. If you "loan" an e-book to someone and you forget to delete your own copy permanently, you've now bought one copy from the ebook-seller and stolen one from publisher. If you "loan" it to 10 other people, you've bought the one copy from the e-seller and stolen 10 from the publisher.

In a world where 99.9999% of people would actually physically remove their electronic copy when they "loaned" it even temporarily to a friend, DRM would be unnecessary. Do you think we live in such a world ?

By the way, in terms of "loaning" your ebooks, the one outright legal way to do so would be to physically loan your Kindle to someone. I'm pretty sure Bezos, and the law, would not have a problem with that.

Gino.

nekokami
12-07-2007, 04:30 PM
On this forum, many people seem to re-read books (see the poll in my sig line), but I'm told that most people don't. My mom is a good example. She reads books once, then gives them away. Since she wouldn't read the book again in any case, does it matter that she still has a copy?

Ok, I suppose it does matter, because she could forget that she gave it to me, let's say, and give it again to my brother or a friend. But if Amazon wanted to, they could make it very easy to "send" an e-copy of a book to someone else with an Amazon account, which function would mark the book as "removed" and might even actually remove it from the Kindle (and associated account) after receipt confirmation. This could be done without any DRM.

If you start from the premise that most of your customers are honest, there are many ways to make managing digital content easier, including helping your customers stay on the right side of copyright law, without introducing the system fragility that DRM imposes.

Liviu_5
12-07-2007, 04:40 PM
When you buy a physical book, only one person can be in possession of that book at any given point in time. This is why it's legal to loan it out, or even to give it away.

When you buy an electronic book, without DRM, it's all too easy for one purchase to turn into one purchase + multiple copies. If you "loan" an e-book to someone and you forget to delete your own copy permanently, you've now bought one copy from the ebook-seller and stolen one from publisher.
Gino.

So we do not buy the drm book and everyone is happy. The book is not stolen after all; well the publisher loses a sale, but what the heck, he does not get 100 lost pirated sales. He does not get any sale in the end but of course that's much better than making a sale and having a potentially pirated book. :)

Just too bad that despite all drm and actually despite a book not being offered digitally at all, the popular books somehow make their way to the net while the obscure ones remain obscure. Think of how much income a popular author loses in piracy, would it not better for he or she not to be popular at all, and not lose that income. And the obscure authors should be so happy that they are not pirated at all, so they are so much better than JK Rowling and similar authors after all :)

Actually the same argument has been made very seriously about those bargain bin books you see at the bookstore, where the author gets no royalty. So what the heck, all those popular authors in the bargain bin at BN should be mad as hell as how does the bookstore dare sell their books without them being compensated...

Steven Lyle Jordan
12-07-2007, 05:39 PM
Okay, this is a good discussion and I'm getting a lot from it. However, I want to interject a general statement encouraging calmness in continuing it.

Actually, I'm going to assume that's aimed at me. I know, I've gotten a bit feral in this thread, and I apologize for any instances (and yes, there were some) where I went over the top. Mea Culpa.

And speaking of which: The worst instance was my response to wgrimm, suggesting that he must be illegally giving away e-books, etc. You have my apologies, that was clearly out of line, and I shouldn't have said it. That apology goes for everyone else in here, as well.

Steven Lyle Jordan
12-07-2007, 05:43 PM
OK, I'm interested in where you think the "justified" line is drawn. I'm going to put up a series of scenarios. Please tell me which ones you think are morally justified. I'll use CDs instead of books, because that's easier. (But please tell me if you think there's a difference between CDs and books in this sense).

Here's the line: Items 4, 5, 6 and 7 require a specific statement from the CD creator, stating that those actions are permissible. If you do not have that permission, you are not justified in taking those actions. And yes, they go for CDs and books.

(This assumes that the MP3s on iTunes and Amazon are legitimately obtained, of course.)

DaleDe
12-07-2007, 05:55 PM
Perhaps in Britain. But here, no. Prove that the mp3 I had is illegal, while I am waving my 100% legally purchased cd in front of you. How will you prove that I didn't create the mp3 myself?

Actually, I don't use mp3s, only lossless formats, but let's just assume for the case of argument. The traditional rules are changing, whether publishers like it or not. The big gain for the actual producers of content that I see is the potential to pull in vastly more income. If authors play their cards right, I think they can greatly reduce what the middlemen now keep for their own.

Whether it can be proved or not has absolutely nothing to do with whether it is illegal or not. It does effect the ability to prosecute but that is not the criteria for morals or the law.

Steven Lyle Jordan
12-07-2007, 06:12 PM
By the way, in terms of "loaning" your ebooks, the one outright legal way to do so would be to physically loan your Kindle to someone. I'm pretty sure Bezos, and the law, would not have a problem with that.

Actually, it would be nice if there was a way to use your Kindle to send your copy to someone else... logically, there would be no reason why the file couldn't be removed from your Kindle and sent to someone else, since the owner doesn't have the ability to get into the Kindle and make copies.

Of course, the moment the Kindle is hacked, that plan's over.

bingle
12-07-2007, 07:53 PM
Here's the line: Items 4, 5, 6 and 7 require a specific statement from the CD creator, stating that those actions are permissible. If you do not have that permission, you are not justified in taking those actions. And yes, they go for CDs and books.

(This assumes that the MP3s on iTunes and Amazon are legitimately obtained, of course.)

Interesting! That's a different place than I would have assumed. I'm glad we cleared that up.

So, you're drawing a distinction between someone performing the action of copying for themselves, and having a company do it for them. What is the relevant moral principle that you see in play here, the essential difference that makes that line?

What about the argument that this gives free MP3s to people who are tech-savvy enough to rip their own CDs, while giving less-tech-savvy types no alternative but to buy from a service? (Or go without, if no legal MP3 version is available). Is that a fair division?

(For the record, I'm not arguing whether you're right or wrong, I just want to feel out your views. These are not 'attack' questions, they're innocent. :)

tompe
12-07-2007, 08:29 PM
So, you're drawing a distinction between someone performing the action of copying for themselves, and having a company do it for them. What is the relevant moral principle that you see in play here, the essential difference that makes that line?


I do not see the reason either. Especially for your example number 5 were I assume the company distributing all the files have the right to do it to the persons that have bought the material (but the buyer has no expicit contractual right to download a copy). It is very hard to see why the downloading in that case should be morally different from making your own copy.

Panurge
12-07-2007, 11:56 PM
This is probably a dead issue by now in the conversation, but "piracy" is a word that originally was used to refer to the unauthorized reproduction of books as early as the 18th century. It referred to printers (publishers), especially in Holland, who printed editions of books that could not be regulated because they were outside their countries of origin. The author, of course, was not compensated. Pirating also occurred within the same same country in which the book originated. The most notorious in the first half of the 18th century was Edmund Curll. Sometimes authors could use "pirates" to their advantage. When Alexander Pope and Jonathan Swift decided to publish their correspondence but were hesitant to do so because they thought it might seem immodest, they simply "leaked" copies to Curll, who obliging brought out "incorrect copies," thus making it imperative that the authors issue correct editions. So back then, even pirates had their uses.

Nate the great
12-08-2007, 08:08 AM
This is probably a dead issue by now in the conversation, but "piracy" is a word that originally was used to refer to the unauthorized reproduction of books as early as the 18th century. It referred to printers (publishers), especially in Holland, who printed editions of books that could not be regulated because they were outside their countries of origin. The author, of course, was not compensated. Pirating also occurred within the same same country in which the book originated. The most notorious in the first half of the 18th century was Edmund Curll. Sometimes authors could use "pirates" to their advantage. When Alexander Pope and Jonathan Swift decided to publish their correspondence but were hesitant to do so because they thought it might seem immodest, they simply "leaked" copies to Curll, who obliging brought out "incorrect copies," thus making it imperative that the authors issue correct editions. So back then, even pirates had their uses.

Can you provide a source for this? With all due respect, this sounds like something Big Content made up to justify its use of the word. If it's not, then it would be a very interesting historical footnote.

rlauzon
12-08-2007, 08:17 AM
Can you provide a source for this? With all due respect, this sounds like something Big Content made up to justify its use of the word. If it's not, then it would be a very interesting historical footnote.

According to Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copyright_infringement#_note-0), the term "piracy" is applied to creative works in the Berne Copyright Convention:

"See Berne Copyright Convention, 1886: "Pirated works may be seized on importation into those countries of the Union where the original work enjoys legal protection." (Art. 12)."

But I would still argue the Big Content applied the term to make the unauthorized use of works appear worse. After all, Berne was the start of Copyright Maximalism.

voldav
12-08-2007, 10:23 AM
hi, everybody

Penforhire
12-08-2007, 10:49 AM
Bingle, I've tried to get Steve to express this distinction in other threads without success. I suspect our ethics just differ but we're at least on the same page. I would refine your example situation slightly.

If the company who provides you the e-version (MP3 or e-book) is paid to provide you that conversion then I'd agree with Steve that something a bit unethical happens. But if they provide it at no tangible benefit to themselves then I step fully over to what I assume is your view, no harm done (legal and ethical).

At the heart of the matter, my self-scanned bits (after OCR correction) are not any different than your self-scanned bits of the same text. The concept of "blood money" does not apply here.

catsittingstill
12-08-2007, 07:50 PM
If you'd ordered a book that turned out to be an ugly hardback, you wouldn't consider it okay to walk into the bookstore or library and just take a paperback copy for free. (And neither would the store or library. Ask them.) To balance out the cost, you'd return one and use the refund to buy the other.

Hey! You can *do* this? Cool! I'd be happy to return some of the paper books I bought and use the refund to buy e-books. Where do I go to sign up?

Steven Lyle Jordan
12-09-2007, 07:56 AM
I do not see the reason either. Especially for your example number 5 were I assume the company distributing all the files have the right to do it to the persons that have bought the material (but the buyer has no expicit contractual right to download a copy). It is very hard to see why the downloading in that case should be morally different from making your own copy.

I think the issue there is the fact that, given the state of the market, you can't always "assume" the company in example 5 actually has the right to copy or distribute those files. Because it is so potentially easy for those files to be "leaked out," the creators (like JKR) often don't grant that right to anyone, or grant it only to a select few (mostly DRM'd distributors).

This is the overriding legal/ethical issue here, the concern that these copies will be out of the creators' control without their permission. That's the reason for these laws, and my personal stance on them. It's also up to the law to decide whether this needs to change, and amend the law to take a different stance with digital copies. Obviously, re: the RIAA vs Thomas case, they won't be doing that anytime soon.

It is up to the company copying and distributing files to prove that they have legal permission, which they can only obtain from the creator. Even if they are doing it for free, they need to demonstrate that they are doing it with permission. Otherwise, they (and you) can be contributing to releasing unauthorized copies, which is wrong.

Obviously, it's up to you to care one way or the other. But if that company is shown to have acted without permission, they are liable for copyright infringement. If a copy you obtained from them gets out, you are liable.

Steven Lyle Jordan
12-09-2007, 07:59 AM
Hey! You can *do* this? Cool! I'd be happy to return some of the paper books I bought and use the refund to buy e-books. Where do I go to sign up?

So far, the only you're going to be able to do that is to take your p-book back to the store for a refund, then go buy your e-book (probably) elsewhere.

Here's an idea: An e-book site that will accept your print book, mailed to them, and credit your e-book purchase for it! Then they can resell the print book. Now there's a service!

nekokami
12-09-2007, 09:02 AM
Here's an idea: An e-book site that will accept your print book, mailed to them, and credit your e-book purchase for it! Then they can resell the print book. Now there's a service!
It's a great idea. But what if the print book isn't available as a legal ebook? That's the case with most of my collection, sadly. :(

HarryT
12-09-2007, 09:12 AM
It's a great idea. But what if the print book isn't available as a legal ebook? That's the case with most of my collection, sadly. :(

One just has to accept it as an unfortunate fact and live with it. With my pBooks, I prefer to buy hardbacks. Some of my favourite books are not available in HB.

Steven Lyle Jordan
12-09-2007, 09:24 AM
It's a great idea. But what if the print book isn't available as a legal ebook? That's the case with most of my collection, sadly. :(

Well, I never said the idea was perfect! Yes, it only works for books that are available as e-books... everyone else is out of luck.

Maybe, someday, a company will work out a way to take in a print book and directly convert it to an e-book for a reasonable price (and with due authorization from the original publisher--I'd bet the publisher would make them return or pulp the print book afterward!). Most likely, though, you'd be better off doing it yourself.

nekokami
12-09-2007, 09:35 AM
Maybe, someday, a company will work out a way to take in a print book and directly convert it to an e-book for a reasonable price (and with due authorization from the original publisher--I'd bet the publisher would make them return or pulp the print book afterward!). Most likely, though, you'd be better off doing it yourself.
I wish somebody would! I think a central operation for this would have efficiencies (being able to use one scan for multiple customers) that would make it an improvement over doing it yourself.

It would be nice if the publishers would also let the company sell ebooks outright after they'd scanned them-- with an appropriate cut to the publisher and author, of course. That could make the operation worthwhile from a business standpoint, as well as dramatically increasing the size of the ebook catalog and reducing the appeal of the darknet.

JSWolf
12-09-2007, 10:25 AM
What about the people who purchase some ebooks and pirate the rest?

JSWolf
12-09-2007, 10:27 AM
As more people have ebook readers, more will look for free sources. The rise of piracy will be a direct result.
One thing that will help this issue is some not knowing how to convert. Some of the ebooks being a real mess, and some being in a format that one cannot properly convert. I've seen some of the mess out there and it can really be that bad. If you want a good read, a lot of the books will have to be purchased or you'll be sitting with the pbook verifying the ebook.

mdibella
12-09-2007, 11:05 AM
I just don't get it, really. I don't buy books for the purpose of having many piles of bound paper bricks all over my house. I buy the content. The paper is merely a delivery mechanism.

Mr Jordan is, I think, going to have a difficult time convincing the iPod generation that the physical format of purchased content is any more meaningful than the box my iPod came in. I unpacked my iPod and tossed the box in my recycle bin.

We're approaching a time when people will be able to recycle those piles of books (my husband will be so happy, he keeps tripping over the durn things) after transforming the content into something that can be stored on a hard drive and tossed in a drawer.

In that context, it is difficult for me to understand the need to repurchase the content I've already paid for just because I can't easily get it out of the 'box' it came in.

Steven Lyle Jordan
12-09-2007, 11:55 AM
In that context, it is difficult for me to understand the need to repurchase the content I've already paid for just because I can't easily get it out of the 'box' it came in.

Again, because the content you downloaded is not the same item as the content you bought in the store (as proven by the fact that you can play one without touching the other). They are two distinct entities, and you are required to pay for both.

People have a hard time accepting speed limits, too. However, when car accidents and deaths result, people decide to accept police action, ie, ticketing speeders, in the name of public safety.

People also have a hard time accepting having to pay for something they want. But when they realize that anarchy helps society not a bit, they accept the fact that things should be paid for, for the sake of an ethical society.

You can keep arguing for free stuff and anarchy all you want, but the fact is that the rest of society has already voted you down. Get used to paying for stuff.

JSWolf
12-09-2007, 12:12 PM
I wouldn't be so sure about that; read the "Fair Use" article I posted a link to previously. Of course, in practical terms, nobody is going to prosecute you for scanning a book that you've bought for your own personal use, but it's not clear at all that this constitutes "fair use". Scanning a small portion of the book would, but the whole thing? That's far from clear.

The fourth factor measures the effect that the allegedly infringing use has had on the copyright owner's ability to exploit his original work.

The pbook was purchased. The ebook is in PDF. The ebook may not be useful at all. No portable readers can handle DRM PDF. So the publisher by format limiting is making it possibly impossible to legally obtain an ebook copy. Now, if it was self converted to an ebook no effect on the author would happen. If it was downloaded from a copy someone else made, no effect on the author since the illegal copy might not be usable anyway. Now, if the legal ebook copy was one that 100% could be used, then downloading would be wrong. But in this case, the tower of ebable has done a disservice. Now, if we were to get ebooks and pbooks released on the same day, this issue of "I bought the pbook because of no ebook edition and then the ebook came out which is what I wanted" would not be an issue. What we need is if an ebook is due to come out of a given title then I think there should be someplace to go look to see if that is true. Maybe on the publisher's website. I know for a fact, I can go to Simon & Schuster's website and look up a newly printed book and I can find out if an ebook is out or going to come out. But do most publishers do this? Not at all. That is part of the problem. People feel cheated. They feel they were not given a choice. That the information that an ebook edition was due to be released after the pbook was was withheld. That's unfair practices. Then the publisher has the audacity to demand you pay for the ebook after you have already paid for the pbook based on the publisher's fauly lack of information. If the information was there from the start, it would give consumers the ability to make an informed decision. But they don't all do that. They just do what they do and the consumer be dammed. Well, in this case, morally, I don't see an issue to find an ebook copy since the publisher withheld information that allows the consumer to make an informed choice.

JSWolf
12-09-2007, 12:22 PM
I think piracy will increase, now that so many textbooks are available.

Which age group has the largest concentration of pirates? college students
What do they spend $400 to $800 on each semester? textbooks
If an illegal copy is known to be available, how likely is it that the average student will get it?
To be honest, I don't see any of the portable readers to be good enough for textbooks. So I don't think that will matter. What I see if people grabbing an ebook textbook, trying it, finding it's not good enough and then going to go get the print edition.

tompe
12-09-2007, 12:49 PM
I think the issue there is the fact that, given the state of the market, you can't always "assume" the company in example 5 actually has the right to copy or distribute those files. Because it is so potentially easy for those files to be "leaked out," the creators (like JKR) often don't grant that right to anyone, or grant it only to a select few (mostly DRM'd distributors).


Do you really mean that it is morally wrong of me to get a scanned electronic copy (that a friend has scanned) from a friend of a book I own a paper copy of? It is definitely not illegal where I am living.

mdibella
12-09-2007, 01:06 PM
Again, because the content you downloaded is not the same item as the content you bought in the store (as proven by the fact that you can play one without touching the other). They are two distinct entities, and you are required to pay for both.


How do you figure that? As near as I can tell, they are identical. Using the iPod analogy again, I can play my CDs without having to touch them, too.

The thing I 'touch' when I read a physical book is paper, nothing more than a delivery mechanism for the content. If that weren't true, I would not have to buy more than one book, ever. I'd have a book and not need any more, because they'd all be the same. (and oh, what a happy hubby I would have...). When I buy a book, I am not buying the paper and ink, I am buying a license to read and enjoy the content.

I seems to me that authors would have a lot more objections to things like public libraries, which share the content by lending out the physical container. You don't get any money from the additional readership. At least I am buying my books, every one of them. If I want to download the content so I can discard the container (which takes up a lot of space if you have enough of them), I do not see how that is in any way unfair to the author.

Mind you, I say I would discard (recycle, actually) the books, not sell them. I will readily agree that if I sold the book (or even gave it away), it would be wrong for me to hang onto an electronic copy of the content.

Bierius
12-09-2007, 01:49 PM
I voted 'yes'. My reasoning...

I see it like this. Increase the number of e-reader devices and you will increase the total number of pirated ebook downloads.

However, this is in absolute numbers only! In my opinion the kindle will drastically decrease the proportion of pirated ebooks downloaded vs legal downloads. As a whole the publishing industry and authors will benefit greatly from devices such as the kindle. Well, providing they allow customers based outside of the US to give them their money. :rofl:

Steven Lyle Jordan
12-09-2007, 06:12 PM
Well, in this case, morally, I don't see an issue to find an ebook copy since the publisher withheld information that allows the consumer to make an informed choice.

Though it would be nice for a publisher to tell its customers everything they're going to do in advance, they are under no obligation to do so... any more than your corner grocery is obligated to tell you about a hamburger sale before it happens. So, if you buy hamburger today, and tomorrow it goes on sale... oh, well.

Do you really mean that it is morally wrong of me to get a scanned electronic copy (that a friend has scanned) from a friend of a book I own a paper copy of? It is definitely not illegal where I am living.

Since I consider an e-book as valid and substantial a copy as a printed book, to me, that means you obtained two copies of a book, and only paid for one. I would consider that morally wrong. Of course, if Sweden has passed laws that say that is OK, then feel free to do what is legal for you. (Obviously, if I don't agree with that law, I would avoid moving to Sweden.)

How do you figure that? As near as I can tell, they are identical. Using the iPod analogy again, I can play my CDs without having to touch them, too.

Two paperbacks are identical. But you are not entitled to one for free, just because you bought the other. Does iTunes let you have MP3s for free because you own the CD? Nope.

Again, my opinion is that an e-book is just as substantial as a printed book. It is an instance of a concept, as a paperback is an instance, a hardback is an instance, a stone tablet is an instance, and a movie is an instance. You should pay for each instance. The amount of trouble it took (or did not take) to create that instance is immaterial to the consumer. You are free to debate or accept the price, but ultimately it is the creator that sets the price. Your legal, moral and ethical choice is limited to buying it or not. Taking it for free because it's easy is not a moral or ethical argument. But it is a legal argument, if your country (like Sweden) says you can.

In the U.S., the law says you can't.

Nate the great
12-09-2007, 06:36 PM
I have a hypothetical situation for you, Steve. Let's say I bought an ebook from you. I download it, and copy it to my ebook reader.

I now have two copies, one on my PC and the other on the reader. Should I pay you for the second copy?

Why can't the same principle apply for a pbook and an ebook? If the content has been paid for, why does the consumer have to buy it a second time?



The problem, as I see it, is that CDs and MP3s have changed how some people look at electronic content. A CD is little different from a collection of MP3s. If someone owns the one, they will not pay for the second because they can get it so easily. This viewpoint has bled into the ebook market.

wgrimm
12-09-2007, 06:44 PM
People also have a hard time accepting having to pay for something they want. But when they realize that anarchy helps society not a bit, they accept the fact that things should be paid for, for the sake of an ethical society.

You can keep arguing for free stuff and anarchy all you want, but the fact is that the rest of society has already voted you down. Get used to paying for stuff.

I don't agree with this. We all buy alot of things and don't have a hard time doing so. I think people DO have a hard time paying for stuff when they believe that they are being blatantly ripped off. That's one of the reasons for the success of the Ipod- people could convert their music to Ipod format, easily. My guess is if this were not possible, and they were forced to re-buy all of the music they wanted to listen to, that they would have been pretty upset and the Ipod wouldn't have been the success it is.

wgrimm
12-09-2007, 07:00 PM
I have a hypothetical situation for you, Steve. Let's say I bought an ebook from you. I download it, and copy it to my ebook reader.

I now have two copies, one on my PC and the other on the reader. Should I pay you for the second copy?

Why can't the same principle apply for a pbook and an ebook? If the content has been paid for, why does the consumer have to buy it a second time?





And this is the crux of the matter. The ipod has been so successful because you are not forced to buy content again for the device, if you already own it. Hey, I'll pay for content, and have for years. But I absolutely refuse to pay for the same content more than one time. It's unfair, and it is lining the pockets of a few entities at my expense.

I own alot of ebooks bought at ereader. I re-read alot of them over time. I absolutely refuse to EVER buy one of these books in a different e-format.

IMHO, we will see some sanity in the ebook market coming from overseas at first. Rumour is that CHina is looking to replace paper texts with etexts. The textbook market is where I see this sanity emerging. Ebooks can be great, they can have alot of beneficial effects. But if the publishers cling to their old model, and expect us to pay almost the same price for an ebook as a pbook, while at the same time depriving us our rights (right to resell, etc.), then there won't be an ebook market of consequence. Consumers, as an entity, aren't this stupid.

Ipod's success? Well, if you buy a music cd, you can convert it to Ipod or anything else you want, again and again. You can make a backup of the cd on hard drive so you have a good copy if your cd is scratched. You pay for content one time, and can use it on different devices that you own. For $15 or $20 for a cd, that's fair.

And here is what some book publishers tell us- you spend $24 for my hardcover edition, you must spend $20 for an electronic version ofr your palmpilot. And if you buy a kindle, baby, shell out more cash to read on that. And if the Kindle disappears ever, and you still want to read the book you have already purchased, shell out more cash for a new format.

Given that the population that regularly buys books is a much smaller one than that which regularly buys music, well, this doesn't seem to be a strategy that will lead to market success.

Steven Lyle Jordan
12-09-2007, 07:06 PM
I just don't get it, really. I don't buy books for the purpose of having many piles of bound paper bricks all over my house. I buy the content. The paper is merely a delivery mechanism.

Exactly... and you've already had it delivered once. Does asking for another one to be delivered mean that second delivery should be free?

It's clear to me that many of you simply consider an e-book (and, by extention, an MP3) to be essentially worthless, because it's not on paper (or disc), and therefore, it should be free for all. You also don't consider an e-book (or MP3) to be the equal of a printed book or CD, despite repeatedly saying that they are "the same" in content. Obviously, I don't consider that a practical, sensible, logical or ethical argument, and I'd like to point out that while you all are trying to convince me that I am wrong, you have made little headway in convincing me that you are right.

So: Explain to me how something that is "essentially content," and is considered worth something in one format, is worth nothing in an electronic format.

Explain to me why the production cost of a piece of content dictates the worth of that content, and how it impacts the compensation due to the creator.

Explain why it is a consumer's business what a creator pays to produce something.

Explain why it is okay for someone who is not connected to a creator, and does not know the creator's wishes, to reproduce that creator's work and resell it or give it away.

Explain why it is okay for someone who does not like a creator to reproduce that creator's work and resell it or give it away to spite them.

Explain why a creator should not have any say in how their creation is produced, or what it costs.

And finally, explain how it is right to take something for free, because you are not satisfied with something's cost or format.

rlauzon
12-09-2007, 07:22 PM
Given that the population that regularly buys books is a much smaller one than that which regularly buys music, well, this doesn't seem to be a strategy that will lead to market success.

And that's the crux of this whole "piracy" matter.

For literally hundreds of years, customers have been able to pay and own a copy of some content. We pay for a book and we own that book - forever - and can read that book again and again - forever.

The content owners (not necessarily authors) have never liked this. They do not want consumers to ever own a copy. They want consumers to pay every time they want to enjoy the content. They only want consumers to rent content.

brecklundin
12-09-2007, 07:43 PM
hmmm...to me this is a simply issue...it is fine to have a personal backup of any electronic content one has licensed. But there is no reason someone should be allowed an electronic copy of a book simply because one has the hard-copy on a shelf. Electronic copies are just a different edition of a book, as in hardback vs. paperback. But making a scanned copy of a hard-copy book as a personal backup might seem be fine to most of us...but really since one is changing the delivery system of the content, the author & parasites...errr, I mean...publishers, should have a valid complaint. But a photocopy as a backup should be fine, but likely much more expensive then just buying a new copy if ours is destroyed.

I bet if authors retained the e-rights to their works then made the content directly available at a reasonable price most of us would be happy to pay for the e-version even if we own the hard copy of our favs.

One problem is there is so much content with no current e-versions or even the hope of e-versions anytime in the near future. For me personally that is a problem as I can no longer hold books (or anything else) in my hands for more then a few moments at a time...hence I am a HUGE fan of the ebook options and increasing the selection of both devices and content...

We should all SUPPORT the authors efforts to get ebook versions out there for all of their works...and also be compensated for that edition of their works.

Beyond that all I really read here are circular arguments.

tompe
12-09-2007, 08:20 PM
Since I consider an e-book as valid and substantial a copy as a printed book, to me, that means you obtained two copies of a book, and only paid for one. I would consider that morally wrong. Of course, if Sweden has passed laws that say that is OK, then feel free to do what is legal for you. (Obviously, if I don't agree with that law, I would avoid moving to Sweden.)


Well, you said previously that it was morally OK if you scanned the book yourself. But here you seem to contradict that or? What I do not get is the difference between doing the scan yourself or just copying your friends scan.

The laws i am referring to are the same laws that makes it legal to copy a music CD and give it to friends and family. And you cannot say that you have thousands of friends and use that law.

Steven Lyle Jordan
12-09-2007, 08:46 PM
Well, you said previously that it was morally OK if you scanned the book yourself. But here you seem to contradict that or? What I do not get is the difference between doing the scan yourself or just copying your friends scan.

The laws i am referring to are the same laws that makes it legal to copy a music CD and give it to friends and family. And you cannot say that you have thousands of friends and use that law.

Not really contradicting myself here. I realize that the actual act of creating an e-book, or obtaining the copy of an e-book that someone else made, has little inherent difference. The difference is in the fact that, when the person who made the e-book gave it to you, they violated the understanding of "fair use" (as we apply it in the U.S., that is). By the same token, if you made an e-book, you should not give it to anyone else, or you are violating "fair use."

Even in the U.S., "fair use" dictates that I am not to make a copy of a CD and give it to a single friend or family member. In practice, the law turns a blind eye if I do this, because in most cases I will not give away enough of their revenue in CDs to be worth the cost of their chasing down. Make no mistake, though, even if they don't choose to come after me, I'm still guilty.

But when I start distributing hundreds or thousands of a CD, they take notice, and take action, because I am costing them a significant amount of money, and it's worth their while at that point to prosecute me.

For me, yes, I could make a copy of a CD for my brother, if I knew he liked it. But I would rather buy him the CD, or tell him where to buy it. I consider that fair to the creators of the work.

jackdavid
12-10-2007, 03:42 AM
Interesting argument. thought I'd weigh in my side.

I guess you could call me an ebook "pirate"; I relentlessly download ebooks and read them on a PDA. I am very excited about the e-INK technology because, while I enjoy reading books on PDA's, I find the screen hurts the eyes after a while and the battery life is not good.

I have no regrets at all that I download ebooks. Yes, I occasionally buy books, but not so much anymore since, with my connections, I can pretty much get any single book within a few days of it's release in the book stores (of course there are some exceptions, but that usually the case).

Because I read books for free, I have become a fan of many author's that I would have never read. I have bought books from those authors because of this.

To me, I equivocate ebook piracy the same as a library. I would just read the book eventually from a library; downloading the book just allows me to bypass the process.

I am delighted with the sudden resurgence in ebook popularity. We ebook fanatics have been waiting for this moment for a long time. The kindle should finally push ebooks into the mainstream, which, I believe, will cause publishers to release books in both digital (ebook) format and traditional paper. This will drastically increase the selection (ebook lovers have always complained about the lack of variety). Pirating ebooks has allowed me, for the most part, to read many many books that have never been published digitally, but for the people who only read legal ebooks, this is a godsend.

Sparrow
12-10-2007, 04:18 AM
You can keep arguing for free stuff and anarchy all you want, but the fact is that the rest of society has already voted you down. Get used to paying for stuff.

But lots of people are also hitting the 'download' button. Get used to piracy.

Morality is just a fancy name for self-interest; people will just continue to debate the side of the argument that suits their own requirements.
The result is that people talk past each other, without really engaging; and they'll leave the debate with the same opinions they arrived with.

HarryT
12-10-2007, 09:25 AM
Interesting argument. thought I'd weigh in my side.

I guess you could call me an ebook "pirate"; I relentlessly download ebooks and read them on a PDA. I am very excited about the e-INK technology because, while I enjoy reading books on PDA's, I find the screen hurts the eyes after a while and the battery life is not good.

I have no regrets at all that I download ebooks. Yes, I occasionally buy books, but not so much anymore since, with my connections, I can pretty much get any single book within a few days of it's release in the book stores (of course there are some exceptions, but that usually the case).


Why don't you buy books? What I mean is, what makes you believe that it is "right" to obtain books without paying for them? Do you not believe that authors should be paid for their work?

How do you make your living, by the way?

cjschmidt
12-10-2007, 10:21 AM
All of the "pirated" books I have on my reader have paper copies sitting on a shelf. They were a pain to find and a pain to format. If they were available to buy, I would have bought them. Not saying any of this makes it "right", but publishers can easily nip this in the bud by getting their collections available quickly.

I know that a lot of people here don't think "format shifting" is legitimate, but I think you'll have a hard time convincing the general public of that. The government has clearly stated that putting CDs on you iPod is fair use. Many people rip DVDs to put them on mobile devices - though they are technically breaking the DMCA. Steve Jobs is currently working to include a mobile-ready version of the movie on HDDVD and Bluray. If we all had one of those Google OCR book scanners I don't think there would even be a question here.

Amazon needs to include a Kindle download with their print books. If the record industry had iTunes a few years earlier, Napster would not have done the damage that it did.

cjschmidt
12-10-2007, 10:40 AM
Another problem we face is that (though it may be debated on here at length), you will NEVER convince the general public that transferring a <1mb text file (that the owner can never resell or pass on) can compare to the cost of printing, binding, shipping, etc.

People don't see any technical reason why every book written in the last 20 years shouldn't be available and cost $4.99. This public feeling is what leads to casual piracy of media.

Hopefully, the publishing industry is smarter than the music industry and will be able to move with the times.

astra
12-10-2007, 10:43 AM
Again, my opinion is that an e-book is just as substantial as a printed book. It is an instance of a concept, as a paperback is an instance, a hardback is an instance, a stone tablet is an instance, and a movie is an instance. You should pay for each instance.

I almost agree with you.

There is only one but.

an e-book is just as substantial as a printed book. if that's the case, then I should be able to have as much fun with e-book as I have with a printed book. Such as, read it as many times as I would like to, be able to read it on a whim lets say in 25 years time, just as I can do with £15 hardbacks I have on my shelves. Also (not about me, I don't do it but..) I should have a right to sell ebooks in future if I don't want to have them.

Then and only then, I would agree to pay for ebook a certain price regardless whether I have a printed book at home or not.

To have a right to sell ebook later equates its price to hardback edition (each one of them has its own merrits). Remove this right and the price drops below or equal to paper back edition. Remove an ability to read ebook in 25 years time on any given device, reduces the price to $1-2 at most.

I, personally, am happy to pay $10 for *.lit book (mind you, I still don't have a right to sell it, so $10 is a bit more than paper back price and I have to spend my prive time for editing ebook in addition to the time I spent to earn the money, but I agree nonetheless) because I can convert it for whatever format my current reader supports, along with saving a special file for any future adjustments that will be required for my brand new reader in 10 years time.

astra
12-10-2007, 10:51 AM
(mind you, I still don't have a right to sell it, so $10 is a bit more than paper back price and I have to spend my prive time for editing ebook in addition to the time I spent to earn the money, but I agree nonetheless)

I wonder, would it be publishers' goal? To show us how difficult they might make our life, then make a few minor improvments and we, by default, should be over the moon? (Because accordingly to my theory, I am not supposed to be happy with $10 price, it should be below $6, but I cave in..)

Steven Lyle Jordan
12-10-2007, 10:53 AM
I know that a lot of people here don't think "format shifting" is legitimate, but I think you'll have a hard time convincing the general public of that. The government has clearly stated that putting CDs on you iPod is fair use. Many people rip DVDs to put them on mobile devices - though they are technically breaking the DMCA. Steve Jobs is currently working to include a mobile-ready version of the movie on HDDVD and Bluray. If we all had one of those Google OCR book scanners I don't think there would even be a question here.

Not too many people around here are debating or denigrating "Fair use," whether it involves burning your own CDs to MP3, or scanning and converting your copy of a book into an e-book format. If you are doing it for your own use, most people here consider it okay.

What some of us object to is the idea of downloading a book in such a way that it denies the author a legitimate sale, and a way to earn a living, as Sparrow and jackdavid seem to favor.

nekokami
12-10-2007, 10:54 AM
For those of you who feel that owning a paper book doesn't "entitle" a reader to an e-book, I have a question: if you have legally purchased an ebook in a non-DRM format, should you be allowed to read it on more than one device, e.g. a laptop and a PDA? Or is that entirely governed by the license attached by the publisher?

I'm not going to try to "prove an argument" with your answer, I'm just interested in understanding where the ethical boundaries lie for different people, since there are obviously so many different positions on this matter.

Steven Lyle Jordan
12-10-2007, 11:09 AM
an e-book is just as substantial as a printed book. if that's the case, then I should be able to have as much fun with e-book as I have with a printed book. Such as, read it as many times as I would like to, be able to read it on a whim lets say in 25 years time, just as I can do with £15 hardbacks I have on my shelves. Also (not about me, I don't do it but..) I should have a right to sell ebooks in future if I don't want to have them.

Then and only then, I would agree to pay for ebook a certain price regardless whether I have a printed book at home or not.

There's no logical reason why you can't keep an e-book for 25 years, or re-read it as often as you'd like. (Obviously, DRM and transient formats makes this harder, but if we ever get our universal format, that problem will go away.)

In the meantime, e-books are still worth something. Maybe not as much as a hardback or paperback, but something. If you pay less for the lesser quality (and theoretical shorter lifespan) of a paperback, why not pay less than a paperback for an electronic copy (which most people apparently consider as less transient than paper)? So, $15 hardback = $5 paperback = $2 e-book. You can get the e-book for less, and the author gets to earn a living. Is that really so odious a system?

As far as re-selling e-books goes: Theoretically, sure, it can be done. I don't know that I'd call it a "right," but I don't see any reason why it should not be done. The only issue is, how do you control it? It's not the same as a used book, really, since a reseller can generate multiple copies, and because an e-book doesn't degrade with time, which has an impact on a used book's price. If you can't guarantee that 1 e-book will stay 1 e-book, I'm not sure a "used e-book" market is viable at all.

Steven Lyle Jordan
12-10-2007, 11:18 AM
For those of you who feel that owning a paper book doesn't "entitle" a reader to an e-book, I have a question: if you have legally purchased an ebook in a non-DRM format, should you be allowed to read it on more than one device, e.g. a laptop and a PDA? Or is that entirely governed by the license attached by the publisher?

A publisher that applies DRM is free to dictate how their book is read. (And you, in turn, are free to not buy it.)

A publisher that publishes without DRM is by definition letting you read it however you want, including on multiple machines. They are also counting on your sense of honesty and ethics and leaving it up to you to possibly share it with some, but not to disseminate it widely throughout the web and potentially deny them a significant income.

And before you ask: Yes, this is what I believe in, too.

Penforhire
12-10-2007, 11:21 AM
Nekokami, I fall squarely in the fair use camp. But... in your hypothetical situation you may (hah, not likely) have paid a discounted price because of the DRM limitation. If so then you ARE cheating by stripping the DRM and reading it on another device.

I haven't read the Kindle user agreement but I'll bet if you mess with Kindle-formatted files that would be a violation of the terms of your contract. Seems like every EULA these days includes boilerplate about not reverse engineering, decompiling, etcetera.

astra
12-10-2007, 11:23 AM
There's no logical reason why you can't keep an e-book for 25 years, or re-read it as often as you'd like. (Obviously, DRM and transient formats makes this harder, but if we ever get our universal format, that problem will go away.)

In the meantime, e-books are still worth something. Maybe not as much as a hardback or paperback, but something. If you pay less for the lesser quality (and theoretical shorter lifespan) of a paperback, why not pay less than a paperback for an electronic copy (which most people apparently consider as less transient than paper)? So, $15 hardback = $5 paperback = $2 e-book. You can get the e-book for less, and the author gets to earn a living. Is that really so odious a system?

As far as re-selling e-books goes: Theoretically, sure, it can be done. I don't know that I'd call it a "right," but I don't see any reason why it should not be done. The only issue is, how do you control it? It's not the same as a used book, really, since a reseller can generate multiple copies, and because an e-book doesn't degrade with time, which has an impact on a used book's price. If you can't guarantee that 1 e-book will stay 1 e-book, I'm not sure a "used e-book" market is viable at all.


I agree with everything you just said.

$2 for freaking DRMed ebooks - agree.

re-selling ebooks - impossible to control - fine, reduce the price of ebook in comparison to hardback edition down to paperback edition.

The only people who might loose money are publishers. No real writers. As far as I know writers gets peanuts for paper back editions. This is outrages. IMHO it is a rip-off. But then again, I am sure publishers will not loose money. First of all no one got to pay for all expenditure related to printed books. Second, people who don't pay for ebooks today because of unrealistic prices/DRM, will pay the money. Moreover, they should stop being greedy and appreciate writers more and understand that they are just middle men with no real talent, they are supposed to earn peanuts not the writers.

Steven Lyle Jordan
12-10-2007, 11:47 AM
The only people who might loose money are publishers.

I think if the publishers know their job, they won't lose a dime. It's their job to:

Groom the story;
Produce the book;
Market the book.

Thanks to e-books, they can keep production costs down significantly and lower the price of the final product. Then, if they properly market the e-book, they should be able to make even greater sales, and greater profits.

nekokami
12-10-2007, 01:23 PM
Nekokami, I fall squarely in the fair use camp. But... in your hypothetical situation you may (hah, not likely) have paid a discounted price because of the DRM limitation. If so then you ARE cheating by stripping the DRM and reading it on another device.
If you're referring to my post above about reading files on multiple devices, that's why I specified content without DRM.

By its nature, DRM adds to the cost of producing a book (licensing fees, processing effort, customer support, etc.). I don't know if this cost is offset by the reduced costs to produce copies of and distribute the book, though I would hope so. Regardless, a DRM'd book actually costs more to produce and support than a non-DRM'd book, whereas the value to the consumer is likely to be less. This presents a bit of a conflict for publishers. They'll need to decide if the "protection" offered by DRM is offset by the lower profit margin if they price a DRM book per its lower value to the consumer (and consumers, of course, may or may not react toward DRM the way many of us here do).

Steven Lyle Jordan
12-10-2007, 01:42 PM
This presents a bit of a conflict for publishers. They'll need to decide if the "protection" offered by DRM is offset by the lower profit margin if they price a DRM book per its lower value to the consumer (and consumers, of course, may or may not react toward DRM the way many of us here do).

I think this may be their biggest mistake: Publishers are more worried about how the negative aspect impacts their profit margin, when they ought to be thinking about how to sell the positive aspects and maximize their profit.

This is, I think, why iTunes does as well as it does, despite DRM'd music in iPod-proprietary formats. Apple has maximized the iTunes experience, to the extent that iTunes users don't gripe about DRM, they don't whine about formats, they don't kvetch about prices. They just pay for a song with less than a buck, and go. And incidentally, they don't complain about their iPods, either.

Publishers need to think about a new marketing strategy for the digital age, instead of sitting around wringing their hands because e-books can't be sold ye old-fashioned way.

jackdavid
12-10-2007, 01:47 PM
Why don't you buy books? What I mean is, what makes you believe that it is "right" to obtain books without paying for them? Do you not believe that authors should be paid for their work?

How do you make your living, by the way?

"Right?" I don't feel it's necessarily right or wrong. Most of the time, I would NEVER have bought that book in the first place (I generally only read hardback books that interest me). The author loses no money when I read an ebook, but, in the case of an author I've never read, gains a new fan IF the book is good and the possibility that I will buy one of his or her other books. I can't tell you how many times I have recommended a great book to other people who go out and BUY that book, thus giving the author money. So my "piracy" has in fact helped that author. And don't forget, there are some people who could have never bought the book in the first place because they don't have the money.

I believe there are two sets of people in this world: those who "pirate" stuff and those who do not. Anyone who downloads pirated software or music, will invariably pirate ebooks. It's the natural extension of this. You either buy it all or pirate it all. It's a sticky subject for sure, but I'm willing to bet that a very high portion of people listen to pirated music or use pirated software of some sort. It's a combination of human nature (the desire to get something for free) and technology to painlessly accomplish this. There is a strong push right now to make all digital media (software, ebooks, music, games, etc) free and copyright less. We can see this with the prevalence of Linux, pirated music which has toppled the record industry and has now inflicted a change on the music model to be DRM-free (apple itunes). I strongly feel that the next wave will be free digital media that users "pay" what they feel it's worth. This is certainly an option. Instead of trying to protect digital media (which is akin to squeezing sand with your fingers), give it away and trust the consumer will donate something. I'm sure people will be perfectly happy to pay the author something.

I've been a fan of traditional books for a long time, but given the choice between an ebook version and a paper version, I always go with the ebook version. And since I can acquire almost any book within a few minutes and read it for free on a portable device (and now the new cybook which has a display on par with a physical book), I love reading even more than before the advent of ebooks.

The bottom line: I am simple replacing the local library with a far quicker and more streamlined process. Now, I'm not egg headed enough to advocate this strategy to everyone, as authors need to earn a living too. Fortunately, the vast majority of people will continue to buy the author's books from the bookstore. But for the few who don't see anything morally wrong with this, ebooks, the internet, and ebook readers are a gift from heaven.

How do I make my living? I'm currently a lawyer, ironically.

NatCh
12-10-2007, 01:51 PM
Or maybe it's not ironic at all. :chinscratch: :wink:

tompe
12-10-2007, 02:12 PM
Not really contradicting myself here. I realize that the actual act of creating an e-book, or obtaining the copy of an e-book that someone else made, has little inherent difference. The difference is in the fact that, when the person who made the e-book gave it to you, they violated the understanding of "fair use" (as we apply it in the U.S., that is). By the same token, if you made an e-book, you should not give it to anyone else, or you are violating "fair use."


But now you seem to be arguing that because it violates the law it is morally wrong since I thought "fair use" was a legal term. Fair use or related concepts are different in different countries so if is is fair use or legal in a country I do not understand why you still think it is morally wrong.

bingle
12-10-2007, 02:23 PM
I just think it's sad that there's so many people working so very hard to remove the benefits of one of the most amazing, futuristic inventions the human race has ever seen.

We've ended scarcity, and all people seem intent on doing is getting it back as fast as possible, just so nothing has to change in society.

"Look everyone, I've ended disease!"
"You criminal, think of all the poor doctors and insurance company executives you're making poorer! Quick, come up with some way of getting us back to the way things were!"

It's sad to think that we've got an opportunity for all of human knowledge to be shared with everyone for very low cost. This could be the opposite of the dark ages - the Light Ages.

But instead we have to worry about maintaining the status quo.

tompe
12-10-2007, 02:29 PM
I strongly feel that the next wave will be free digital media that users "pay" what they feel it's worth. This is certainly an option. Instead of trying to protect digital media (which is akin to squeezing sand with your fingers), give it away and trust the consumer will donate something. I'm sure people will be perfectly happy to pay the author something.


Since the problem has to be solved and there is no going back I am hoping for this also. You will also probably pay to "publisher"-like entities that does the selection process that publishers do now. And I feel that a system where you pay afterward if you like the book and want the author to write more books is a system that will work better than what we have today. What I have not yet decided is if you are morally required to pirate things to stimulate this change...


The bottom line: I am simple replacing the local library with a far quicker and more streamlined process.


From your point of view. But authors and translators get money that depends on how many people have borrowed there books (at least in some countries) so it is not equivalent.

Steven Lyle Jordan
12-10-2007, 02:56 PM
So my "piracy" has in fact helped that author.

Actually, the people who bought the books helped the author. All you did was steal a book.

I strongly feel that the next wave will be free digital media that users "pay" what they feel it's worth. This is certainly an option. Instead of trying to protect digital media (which is akin to squeezing sand with your fingers), give it away and trust the consumer will donate something. I'm sure people will be perfectly happy to pay the author something.

Like you have?

Incidentally, if you check a few sources, you'll discover that "trusting people" to pay what something is worth largely does not work.

Now, I'm not egg headed enough to advocate this strategy to everyone, as authors need to earn a living too. Fortunately, the vast majority of people will continue to buy the author's books from the bookstore. But for the few who don't see anything morally wrong with this, ebooks, the internet, and ebook readers are a gift from heaven.

Or in other words, other people should pay for things they want, but you're above that.

How do I make my living? I'm currently a lawyer, ironically.

Not surprising at all.

Steven Lyle Jordan
12-10-2007, 02:58 PM
I just think it's sad that there's so many people working so very hard to remove the benefits of one of the most amazing, futuristic inventions the human race has ever seen.

We've ended scarcity, and all people seem intent on doing is getting it back as fast as possible, just so nothing has to change in society.

This has nothing to do with removing benefits or ending scarcity. It has everything to do with fairly compensating people for the goods you take.

ginolee
12-10-2007, 03:03 PM
The bottom line here is: piracy is theft.

If you pirate digital content because you know your chances of getting caught are low, it's still theft.

There are cases where certain people have given away their digital content for free and asked for a 'pay what you feel like' response. That is their prerogative. But most authors & recording artists have not done this. So if you take their content without lawfully paying for it, that's theft.

I think the confusion here is that if you steal something from Wal-Mart, there's a pretty high probability that you'll get caught or get *really* nervous trying to walk out with the stolen goods. In contrast, when you steal digital goods, there's no one at the door to catch you, so you steal it and rationalize to yourself that you didn't steal anything.

Gino.

nekokami
12-10-2007, 03:09 PM
You either buy it all or pirate it all.
I really don't believe this. It may be true for you, but there have been several studies showing that the most frequent users of file-sharing software for music are also the people who buy the most music from legitimate sources.

With regards to libraries, since libraries pay for hardbound "library edition" copies of books (more durable, more expensive) and make their future purchases based in part on what books are being checked out most frequently, i.e. authors with books that are popular at the library get purchased by the library more often, borrowing books from a library does in fact compensate the author. In the UK, where authors are additionally compensated by metrics tracking how often books are borrowed by library patrons, the compensation is even stronger.

I think the Baen model (which is the same model that Steve Jordan uses) is a good one-- offer a few books per author for free, offer the rest as reasonably priced non-DRM editions and trust that the vast majority of your readers will simply pay for the content they want, rather than trying to download it elsewhere. Even if occasionally people do upload copies to filesharing networks, if the proportion of people who download from such networks remains small because it's easier and safer to get the "real thing" for a reasonable sum, the authors and publishers will still do fine. I'm just hoping the rest of the publishing world comes to this conclusion eventually.

Steven Lyle Jordan
12-10-2007, 03:14 PM
But now you seem to be arguing that because it violates the law it is morally wrong since I thought "fair use" was a legal term. Fair use or related concepts are different in different countries so if is is fair use or legal in a country I do not understand why you still think it is morally wrong.

Because I do not happen to agree that the scenario you described-

Author writes book
Reader makes a copy of book
Reader gives you (and possibly a hundred other "friends") a copy, author gets no compensation for copies

-is a "fair" or moral scenario. "Fair use" isn't really a law... it's an official dodge used for convenience (to give the authorities the excuse to not have to chase down every petty criminal it knows about).

Let me know if I understand this scenario incorrectly. For the record, it's not right even if only one copy is given without compensation to the author.

Also, for the record, laws are generally based on morals, they are not mutually exclusive of each other. These laws in particular are generally covered by the moral guideline that says: Thou shalt not steal.

NatCh
12-10-2007, 03:31 PM
Also, for the record, laws are generally based on morals, they are not mutually exclusive of each other.It's more than that, to my mind: law is the underlying morality of the society that makes it. Or, at least it is when those entrusted with making the laws aren't running amuck making them for the wrong reasons.

In other words, things are typically made illegal because the majority of a society agrees that those things are "wrong," and a minority of the society insists on continuing to do those things: laws aren't for those who follow them they're for those who don't.

As an extreme example, murder is illegal because we almost universally agree that it's wrong. But if there weren't people who committed murder, we probably wouldn't ever have gotten around to actually making it illegal. :shrug:

But have you ever asked yourself why we consider murder to be wrong? There simply isn't any non-morality based answer to that question. Even those who want to convince everyone that "morality" is pointless and empty and may be ignored with impunity, still think murder is wrong. Go figure.

nekokami
12-10-2007, 03:47 PM
I agree that in general laws are created to codify the morality of a culture, but sometimes I think the process gets subverted so that the laws benefit a minority instead. I feel that way about the current copyright laws and the length of time they cover. I don't believe "life plus 70 years" represents the common morality of any of the cultures this is being imposed on, nor is it to the benefit of the author, their dependents, or the society in general. I also don't believe that protecting the copyright of a work that has been allowed to fall out of print benefits any of these groups, or represents the most common moral position.

Steven Lyle Jordan
12-10-2007, 03:48 PM
I think this thread needs a new poll, to determine:

How many people who take e-books for free, actually work for a living?
How many people who work for a living believe they deserve every penny of what they get (and then some)?
How many people would still be doing their jobs if told they would no longer be paid? and
How many people believe that total strangers, not connected with their work, should dictate how much they deserve to get paid?

What I'd be interested to see is how many people answer "Yes" to every question.

For the old poll, maybe we should add the category:
"You can't cause a spark when the area's already ablaze."

jasonkchapman
12-10-2007, 03:58 PM
I also don't believe that protecting the copyright of a work that has been allowed to fall out of print benefits any of these groups, or represents the most common moral position.

I was in complete agreement up until this one. There may be reasons for a book being out of print other than publisher neglect, like a limited edition chapbook, for instance. Also, the point at which a book goes out of print is generally when, in current contracts, the author can regain publishing rights to the work. That would be the exact wrong time to force an end of copyright protection.

I don't think society gains anything from an OOP cutoff that it doesn't already get from a fixed (shorter-than-now) span of time.

rlauzon
12-10-2007, 04:02 PM
The bottom line here is: piracy is theft.

No. It isn't. It's a copyright violation.

Violating a copyright is not theft according to any law.

Penforhire
12-10-2007, 04:04 PM
In your poll you still need to distinguish between people who take for free and versus those who already own the p-book version. American fair use law is likely to, if it does not already, support that difference just as it does for MP3's ripped from CD's.

tompe
12-10-2007, 04:06 PM
Because I do not happen to agree that the scenario you described-

Author writes book
Reader makes a copy of book
Reader gives you (and possibly a hundred other "friends") a copy, author gets no compensation for copies

-is a "fair" or moral scenario. "Fair use" isn't really a law... it's an official dodge used for convenience (to give the authorities the excuse to not have to chase down every petty criminal it knows about).

Let me know if I understand this scenario incorrectly. For the record, it's not right even if only one copy is given without compensation to the author.

Also, for the record, laws are generally based on morals, they are not mutually exclusive of each other. These laws in particular are generally covered by the moral guideline that says: Thou shalt not steal.

I really do not get your resoning. Theft is problematic with electronic copies so it is bad to use these terms.

You seem to say that you consider people whose action is "fair use" to be criminals (morally) and that it is a pity that the authorities does not track them down.

The original scenario was that you owned the paper version of the content and then you got one copy from a friend and the friend only gave one electronic copy to you and to nobody else. The copy was obtained by scanning the book. Why do you not consider it theft if you scan your own book?

Alisa
12-10-2007, 04:18 PM
In your poll you still need to distinguish between people who take for free and versus those who already own the p-book version. American fair use law is likely to, if it does not already, support that difference just as it does for MP3's ripped from CD's.

I'm curious about this point being far from an expert on these laws myself. I'm wondering how much of a difference it makes if someone is exercising electronic rights and distributing an electronic copy. Do they make a distinction between the following scenarios (assuming that I already own a copy of the paper book):

1. I download a free copy someone scanned and posted. There is no other electronic copy available for purchase.

2. I download this scanned copy when there is a copy I could purchase. Someone has the electronic rights and I could compensate them but I haven't actually used the product of their labor. The holders of the electronic rights may include other parties than I originally compensated with my paper purchase I suppose.

3. I download a copy of the commercially-produced book without paying. It seems clear here that someone has done some value-added work to make that formatted copy and is expecting payment. I am taking that work without compensating them for their labor and resources.

Personally, I see my moral hazard differently in each case. I have no idea of my legal hazard.

Sparrow
12-10-2007, 04:23 PM
Also, for the record, laws are generally based on morals, they are not mutually exclusive of each other. These laws in particular are generally covered by the moral guideline that says: Thou shalt not steal.

Unfortunately, in the UK, the tax authorities pay little heed to the 'thou shalt not steal' idea :(

Also, our government is hanging on to the Elgin Marbles (apologies to our Greek friends) - the notion of taking stuff that doesn't belong to them is something they're quite comfortable with.
Their laws are based on electoral popularity or political expediency; any similarity to a moral code is purely coincidental.
The lawmakers are hardly in a position to lecture the rest of the populace about 'right' and 'wrong' (whatever they are :blink:).

Steven Lyle Jordan
12-10-2007, 04:31 PM
In your poll you still need to distinguish between people who take for free and versus those who already own the p-book version. American fair use law is likely to, if it does not already, support that difference just as it does for MP3's ripped from CD's.

Okay, how's this:

How many people believe that purchasing a hardback book gives them the right to take a paperback copy of the same book for free?
How many people do not see a parallel relationship between hardback and paperback books, and paperback and e-books?
Bonus: How many people believe iTunes will allow you to take an MP3 file for free because you already own the CD?


(Your MP3 example does not fit this situation: Ripping it yourself from the CD you own is not the same as getting it from someone else. If you want to argue that point, scan and OCR the book yourself. And don't send a copy of the e-book to anybody.)

Steven Lyle Jordan
12-10-2007, 04:38 PM
I'm curious about this point being far from an expert on these laws myself. I'm wondering how much of a difference it makes if someone is exercising electronic rights and distributing an electronic copy. Do they make a distinction between the following scenarios (assuming that I already own a copy of the paper book):

1. I download a free copy someone scanned and posted. There is no other electronic copy available for purchase.

If the creator did not authorize your right to take a digital copy for free, you are in the wrong.

2. I download this scanned copy when there is a copy I could purchase. Someone has the electronic rights and I could compensate them but I haven't actually used the product of their labor. The holders of the electronic rights may include other parties than I originally compensated with my paper purchase I suppose.

See answer to scenario 1. If the free scanned copy was not authorized by the creator... in other words, you are expected to purchase an e-book... you are in the wrong.

3. I download a copy of the commercially-produced book without paying.

You didn't need to say anything more than that. Wrong.

Personally, I see my moral hazard differently in each case. I have no idea of my legal hazard.

I might suggest that, if you see a moral hazard in all of these scenarios, then maybe all of them are wrong.

Alisa
12-10-2007, 04:41 PM
I don't feel a moral hazard if I download a copy that someone produced for free if there's no other copy available, provided I already own the book. If a commercial copy became available, I would feel compelled to pay for it at that point.

Steven Lyle Jordan
12-10-2007, 04:48 PM
I don't feel a moral hazard if I download a copy that someone produced for free if there's no other copy available, provided I already own the book. If a commercial copy became available, I would feel compelled to pay for it at that point.

Would you? Or would you just conveniently forget to go out of your way and send a check to someone who doesn't know you've downloaded anything?

Why didn't you send a check to the creator when you took the e-book file in the first place?

Guess what most people would do?

Fact is, if someone scanned that book and made it available, for free or at a charge, and that file was not authorized by the creator, it is not your right to have it. It is your right to make it for yourself. So make it yourself, but don't take it for free from someone who shouldn't be giving it to you. If that's not morally clear, I don't know what is.

Alisa
12-10-2007, 04:52 PM
Would you? Or would you just conveniently forget to go out of your way and send a check to someone who doesn't know you've downloaded anything?

Why didn't you send a check to the creator when you took the e-book file in the first place?

Guess what most people would do?

Fact is, if someone scanned that book and made it available, for free or at a charge, and that file was not authorized by the creator, it is not your right to have it. It is your right to make it for yourself. So make it yourself, but don't take it for free from someone who shouldn't be giving it to you. If that's not morally clear, I don't know what is.


Firstly, I would appreciate if you would make some attempt at being civil.

Secondly, I am not compensating the original person who scanned the book because they're not asking me to. They have a right to set the price of their labor. If they choose to set that at $0, then that's fine by me.

Thirdly, yes I actually would pay for the ebook if it became available. Please don't accuse me of being a liar. It's incredibly offensive.

kkingdon
12-10-2007, 04:56 PM
I agree that downloading an unauthorized copy is morally wrong. I also agree that creating a copy for your own use only is morally OK. Where I see is a little gray is using someone else's tools that automate the process of creating my own copy. In general, I believe that this is morally OK, but I would be interested in hearing others' opinions on this variation of the "make-your-own-copy" scenario.

HarryT
12-10-2007, 05:07 PM
I strongly feel that the next wave will be free digital media that users "pay" what they feel it's worth. This is certainly an option. Instead of trying to protect digital media (which is akin to squeezing sand with your fingers), give it away and trust the consumer will donate something. I'm sure people will be perfectly happy to pay the author something.


Is that the way that you work in your profession as a lawyer? ie give away your professional expertise and trust that the client will donate something? No? That's odd. After all, won't people be perfectly happy to pay you something? Your "product" - advice - is an "intangible" as an eBook, and yet I'm guessing that you charge a fixed price for it. Why do you believe that authors should not be able to do likewise?

Don't you see the fundamental dichotomy between what you're saying and what you're doing? You are saying that "most people will be perfectly happy to pay the author something" and yet you yourself are not doing so. Does that "rule" apply only to other people and not to you?

mdibella
12-10-2007, 05:08 PM
I've really given up on this thread because I clearly see that Mr Jordan and I will never agree.

For the record, Mr Jordan, I am scrupulously honest (despite your stated opinion). I spent 35 years of my life as a software developer, so I do understand the issues, and I would not dream of stealing someone else's work. Everyone deserves to be fairly compensated for their work.

We simply disagree on what is fair. Legality is, I think, on my side, at least in the US.

Oh, and Amazon appears to agree with me too, since any ebook purchased can be downloaded at any future time, for free, and put on up to 6 different Kindles (that one actually makes me frown a bit). You agreed to this as well when you offered your own material for sale in the Kindle Bookstore.

Purchase it once, own it forever, that seems to work for them as well as it does me.

rlauzon
12-10-2007, 05:21 PM
Oh, and Amazon appears to agree with me too, since any ebook purchased can be downloaded at any future time, for free, and put on up to 6 different Kindles (that one actually makes me frown a bit). You agreed to this as well when you offered your own material for sale in the Kindle Bookstore.

Purchase it once, own it forever, that seems to work for them as well as it does me.

You'll change your story in a year or so when the Kindle fails in the marketplace and you are left with no way to download your eBooks. Remember what Amazon did to readers who paid for PDFs they sold? Do you remember what they did to the people who paid for downloadable videos?

Finally, go to this page (http://diveintomark.org/archives/2007/11/19/the-future-of-reading) which demonstrates that Amazon does NOT agree with you.

bingle
12-10-2007, 05:46 PM
"Fair use" isn't really a law... it's an official dodge used for convenience (to give the authorities the excuse to not have to chase down every petty criminal it knows about).



Whoa. Hold on there. You're correct in stating that "Fair Use" isn't a law. It's a principle that allows exception to normal copyright law. It is NOT, however, an "excuse". The classic fair use exemptions relate to reviewers quoting a work, excerpting a work for educational purposes, critiquing a work, and parodying a work. People acting in this way are not "petty criminals" who just happen to get away with it because the law turns a blind eye. While many authors would disagree, a book critic who tears apart a passage from a work is not a criminal. Neither is a teacher who shows a video clip to his whole class. Neither is a television writer who parodies a bit of popular culture.

Your desire to look upon everyone who copies any part of a work as a criminal past redemption has made you paint a whole class of citizens with a black brush indeed.

(Edit: here's a page that explains fair use in a more complete way: http://fairuse.stanford.edu/Copyright_and_Fair_Use_Overview/chapter9/)

tompe
12-10-2007, 06:02 PM
Fact is, if someone scanned that book and made it available, for free or at a charge, and that file was not authorized by the creator, it is not your right to have it. It is your right to make it for yourself. So make it yourself, but don't take it for free from someone who shouldn't be giving it to you. If that's not morally clear, I don't know what is.

What does "shouldn't be giving it to you" mean? I refuse to accept that if it is legal to give it to me that they shouldn't be doing it in the meaning that I do something morally wrong if I accept it.

How it can be clear that a legal action should be obviously morally wrong it beyond me and how you can think that is extremely strange.

Penforhire
12-10-2007, 06:18 PM
Steve, why use the example of downloading from iTunes, a commercial entity? Try any P2P network. They host a server, while not strictly legal in itself, that provides me a MP3 for a CD I own. Guess what? I'm clean-and-legal. Goes back to how bits have no memory. It does not matter that some scum-of-the-Earth posted it. If I have legal use of it then the transaction is clean and even ethical on my end.

No, iTunes will not provide me that free converted file. Though I could argue that since their software includes a ripping package that they DO in fact provide me that service for free.

On a side note, I once needed a book that was out of print and not available. It was factory repair manual for a rare motorcycle. Before purchasing a xerox copy from a fellow owner I contacted the manufacturer, still in existence, and got their permission. That is one way to deal with the out-of-print question. I expect most copyright holders would permit e-version access, assuming they had zero expectation to bring the publication back to market.

Steven Lyle Jordan
12-10-2007, 07:22 PM
Okay, I'm going to just try to hit everything relevant here, then leave for the night. I have other things to do. So:

I really do not get your resoning. Theft is problematic with electronic copies so it is bad to use these terms.

There's nothing problematic about an illegally obtained (that is to say, not authorized by the copyright owner) copy of a copywritten work, whether it is in print or electronic form.

You seem to say that you consider people whose action is "fair use" to be criminals (morally) and that it is a pity that the authorities does not track them down.

By the letter of the law, yes. However, I believe in "fair use," which means for your own use. Not to share.

The original scenario was that you owned the paper version of the content and then you got one copy from a friend and the friend only gave one electronic copy to you and to nobody else. The copy was obtained by scanning the book. Why do you not consider it theft if you scan your own book?

You didn't say YOU scanned YOUR book... you said HE scanned HIS book. And gave a COPY to you. That violates "fair use."

Firstly, I would appreciate if you would make some attempt at being civil.

You have no idea.

Secondly, I am not compensating the original person who scanned the book because they're not asking me to. They have a right to set the price of their labor. If they choose to set that at $0, then that's fine by me.

However, they do not have the right to scan a book copywritten in someone else's name, and give you a copy, if they weren't specifically authorized to do so by the copyright holder. It's immaterial what they charge... they didn't have the right to do it in the first place.

Thirdly, yes I actually would pay for the ebook if it became available. Please don't accuse me of being a liar. It's incredibly offensive.

So is insulting my intelligence (not that that's stopped anyone else around here...)

Whoa. Hold on there. You're correct in stating that "Fair Use" isn't a law. It's a principle that allows exception to normal copyright law. It is NOT, however, an "excuse". The classic fair use exemptions relate to reviewers quoting a work, excerpting a work for educational purposes, critiquing a work, and parodying a work.

Yes, I am aware of that. We were discussing "fair use" as it is applied to making full copies of a copywritten work, for personal use. I did not mean to imply that "fair use" as it applies to the areas you mentioned, is an "excuse." I did mean to imply that it was applied to media copying later, and that was as an excuse to avoid prosecuting everyone who owned a tape recorder or VCR.

What does "shouldn't be giving it to you" mean? I refuse to accept that if it is legal to give it to me that they shouldn't be doing it in the meaning that I do something morally wrong if I accept it.

I have stated more times than I care to recount, that the point here is that anyone who makes a copy of a copywritten work, to do anything with other than "fair use," has to have the express permission of the copyright holder first. It is not right for someone else to scan and OCR a copy of a JKR book to give (or sell) to you, morally or legally. Nor is it right for you to create a JKR e-book and do anything with it except read it yourself. That is "fair use."

If they have JKR's permission to resell her books as e-books, fine... buy one. If she says it's okay for people to create e-books of her books and give them away, fine... take one. If they do not have permission, they are violating her copyright, and if you take one of those e-books, you are morally and legally wrong.

Steve, why use the example of downloading from iTunes, a commercial entity? Try any P2P network. They host a server, while not strictly legal in itself, that provides me a MP3 for a CD I own. Guess what? I'm clean-and-legal. Goes back to how bits have no memory. It does not matter that some scum-of-the-Earth posted it. If I have legal use of it then the transaction is clean and even ethical on my end.

Not even close. To use your own words:

"They host a server, while not strictly legal in itself"

That's because they have violated copyright laws in obtaining those files... they are illegal. If you download them, you are downloading illegally-obtained files. If you know that in advance, that means you're in the wrong. You are NOT clean-and-legal, you are an accomplice in theft.

One last thing: I'd like to draw everyone's attention to the poll of this thread. It might interest you to know that the voters for the first choice are outnumbered by 4-1 by the voters of the other 2 choices. Even in this thread, honesty wins the day.

Well... this has been fun! I'm going to dinner. Hasta luego!

igorsk
12-10-2007, 07:26 PM
I think what we need for out of print books is compulsory license (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compulsory_license). I.e., it should be legal to sell/give away copies of an OOP book if you pay some royalty to the copyright holder.

Alisa
12-10-2007, 07:26 PM
Steve,

I never insulted your intelligence. I posted an honest question and got an astoundingly insulting response. Other people may have been mean to you but that doesn't mean you have to dump on people who are trying to be civilized.

bingle
12-10-2007, 08:31 PM
One last thing: I'd like to draw everyone's attention to the poll of this thread. It might interest you to know that the voters for the first choice are outnumbered by 4-1 by the voters of the other 2 choices. Even in this thread, honesty wins the day.

Err... The poll is not about whether the respondents feel that piracy is moral, or whether they themselves pirate. The only thing the answers tell you is that people feel that piracy rates won't change. I don't know why you feel like this question has to be framed in these black or white, honest or dishonest, evil or good terms. There's a lot of shades of gray in copyright law, and certainly in the morality of intellectual property rights.

nekokami
12-11-2007, 03:22 AM
I was in complete agreement up until this one. There may be reasons for a book being out of print other than publisher neglect, like a limited edition chapbook, for instance. Also, the point at which a book goes out of print is generally when, in current contracts, the author can regain publishing rights to the work. That would be the exact wrong time to force an end of copyright protection.

I don't think society gains anything from an OOP cutoff that it doesn't already get from a fixed (shorter-than-now) span of time.
You might be right about that last. I certainly wouldn't want to deny an author a chance to re-negotiate rights. But I think authors that don't renegotiate rights, say, for 5 years or something, might be effectively abandoning their franchise. I'd support a compulsory license style compensation at that point, but not the continued abandonment of the work altogether.

I don't know if I agree about limited edition chapbooks. I've never been a fan of artificially imposed scarcity. If I get an electronic version of such a chapbook, it's not going to reduce the value of the limited edition print, which was probably signed or at least numbered.

In thinking about the ethics entailed in the legal system(s), I think a distinction needs to be made between protecting the rights of the author to be compensated for their work, and protecting the ability of the author to attempt to manipulate value through scarcity. I believe the first is critical, and will continue to be in the digital era. However, I think the second is going to go by the wayside. Comparisons to apples or cars or whatever are irrelevant (until they can be reproduced digitally). The market pressure of an environment in which digital works can be reproduced essentially for free is going to make the scarcity technique of manipulating value unworkable. Perhaps our task is to distinguish between these two aspects of current law and custom and make sure we don't lose author compensation as scarcity manipulation becomes extinct.

jasonkchapman
12-11-2007, 06:54 AM
I don't know if I agree about limited edition chapbooks. I've never been a fan of artificially imposed scarcity. If I get an electronic version of such a chapbook, it's not going to reduce the value of the limited edition print, which was probably signed or at least numbered.

You're right. It was a bad example in that it's back to conflating the value of the container vs. the value of the content.

One problem with an OOP/abandonment cutoff, though, will be one of definition. The rights holder's loophole is simply to put the work with a POD house like lulu.com. It would be technically available and rights holders would "park" properties there to keep them active even if they weren't keeping them actively marketed.

That's one of the definitions being wrangled over now in author-publisher contracts. Publishers can technically keep rights from reverting to authors via the OOP clause indefinitely even if they don't plan to promote the work.

wgrimm
12-11-2007, 07:46 AM
Okay, how's this:

How many people believe that purchasing a hardback book gives them the right to take a paperback copy of the same book for free?
How many people do not see a parallel relationship between hardback and paperback books, and paperback and e-books?
Bonus: How many people believe iTunes will allow you to take an MP3 file for free because you already own the CD?


(Your MP3 example does not fit this situation: Ripping it yourself from the CD you own is not the same as getting it from someone else. If you want to argue that point, scan and OCR the book yourself. And don't send a copy of the e-book to anybody.)

IMHO, this is splitting hairs. To refute the list:
1. Hardback and paperback- we are talking physical objects here, not electronic files. This argument is nonsensical when applied to hardback vs. electronic files.
2. Any parallel relationship existing really isn't the [point here- what is in question is whether or not the consumer should be forced to pay again for a book in electronic format that he owns in paper format. If the consumer DOES acquire or make such an electronic copy, the publisher is only out money if it can be proven that the consumer would have otherwise BOUGHT that electronic copy.
3. The bonus question- has no bearing whatsoever on the legality or morality of this issue. Itunes is a pay media service, and they aren't going to let nayone take anything for free...This isn't proving any points about morality or legality. Itunes does, however, provide you with the functionality to rip cd's and to make all the backup copies of purchased content that you want. In addition, you can play these files on "5 authorized devices." That's kind of like saying "You can give this content away to 4 friends," isn't it? Shouldn't this be construed as copyright infringement? But Itunes is making a buck here, so no one is raising this issue.

Services exist that will "format shift" and back up electronic media that you give them. So, is it permissible to pay THEM to make a backup copy? Would it be permissible to have a friend make a backup copy of the media you own, to give to you?

The entire controversy here seems to be- are we, as consumers, going to have to pay one time for content or many times for the same content. Irregardless of the morality of any stance, one thing is certain- the market is going to be a whole lot smaller for ANY media if the consumer is required to pay multiple times for the same content.

If publishers take a relaxed stance on format-shifting, the market will be much larger for ebooks. If their approach is clouded by greed, and they try to make consumers pay again for an electronic version of the book they already own in paper form, most consumers will probably tell them to piss off, and the market for electronic versions will be very small.

wgrimm
12-11-2007, 07:51 AM
Fact is, if someone scanned that book and made it available, for free or at a charge, and that file was not authorized by the creator, it is not your right to have it. It is your right to make it for yourself. So make it yourself, but don't take it for free from someone who shouldn't be giving it to you. If that's not morally clear, I don't know what is.

Are you saying that the commercial services that offer backups/format shifiting are operating illegally? To my knowledge, these services- and we have several in my city- have never been charged with copyright infringement. If this were illegal, wouldn''t publishers be suing them out of business?

And if this type of service isn't illegal, well, is it okay to make an electronic copy of a book you own IF you pay someone to do it?

wgrimm
12-11-2007, 07:55 AM
We simply disagree on what is fair. Legality is, I think, on my side, at least in the US.

Oh, and Amazon appears to agree with me too, since any ebook purchased can be downloaded at any future time, for free, and put on up to 6 different Kindles (that one actually makes me frown a bit). You agreed to this as well when you offered your own material for sale in the Kindle Bookstore.

Purchase it once, own it forever, that seems to work for them as well as it does me.

I agree 100%. The Amazon approach, like the Itunes approach to use on multiple devices, makes me chuckle. "You can infringe this copyright by giving it way, but only to 4 or 5 people." <G> Ah, yes, moral and ethical imperatives. Cold hard cash seems to modify these quite easily......

wgrimm
12-11-2007, 07:58 AM
You'll change your story in a year or so when the Kindle fails in the marketplace and you are left with no way to download your eBooks. Remember what Amazon did to readers who paid for PDFs they sold? Do you remember what they did to the people who paid for downloadable videos?



Yes I do, having bought DRMd content from them, in pdf and also .lit. Try to return the stuff, even with good reason. Try to exchange for paper products, they'll tell you no. Having been burned by Amazon, I will never buy a Kindle (which is going to crash and burn anways), and I stopped buying from them altogether several years ago.

wgrimm
12-11-2007, 08:03 AM
"Right?" I don't feel it's necessarily right or wrong. Most of the time, I would NEVER have bought that book in the first place (I generally only read hardback books that interest me). The author loses no money when I read an ebook, but, in the case of an author I've never read, gains a new fan IF the book is good and the possibility that I will buy one of his or her other books. I can't tell you how many times I have recommended a great book to other people who go out and BUY that book, thus giving the author money. So my "piracy" has in fact helped that author. And don't forget, there are some people who could have never bought the book in the first place because they don't have the money.



I won't even argue the legality or morality of pirating copyrighted works. I think you have made some good poinjts in regard to "piracy." Isn't it interesting that M$ is where they are today because of piracy! Widespread piracy made Win 3.1 the most widely used OS in the world, alloowing M$ to become the monster it is now......

wgrimm
12-11-2007, 08:46 AM
There are clear differences between digital and physical objects, which probably accounts for the lax attitudes of many regarding "piracy."

Software, movies, ebooks have one thing in common- most associated costs are sunk costs. One you have the product, it costs nothing or close to nothing to make as many copies of it as you want. This is not true of physical objects.

Back your pickup truck up to the publisher's warehouse and fill it up with hardback books, and you cause the publisher a definite loss. Not just a loss in terms of lost sales, but a loss in terms of the raw materials required to produce the books (which exist over and above ther sunk costs). To replace these books, the publisher must spend more money.

Now, if an individual steals an e-book from a publisher, what loss does that cause? Loss of a sale? Only if the thief would have otherwise bought that book. Any real dollar losses? No, because it took no raw materials to create the ebook. And the publisher can replace that ebook for free. Furthermore, the theft didn't affect sunk costs at all. So, we have a situation here where theft of an electronic object, at most, can cause loss of one sale. The3 "stolen" book is easily replaced- for free.

It would appear to me that lending libraries are doing far more damage to publishersw. So why does almost everyone respect public libraries? Aren't they evil, don't they cause publishers to lose money every time a book is lent? So why have publishers been able to remain going concerns over the years with this great library evil blocking their ability to earn profit? I mean, to be fair, shouldn't we close libraries? Shouldn't we force all of those evil citizens who are currently reading for free to fork over the full price for each book they read? This would be fair, wouldn't it? It would stop the libraries from inflicting needlesss agony and unethical loss on those poor publishers......

HarryT
12-11-2007, 10:28 AM
It would appear to me that lending libraries are doing far more damage to publishersw. So why does almost everyone respect public libraries? Aren't they evil, don't they cause publishers to lose money every time a book is lent? So why have publishers been able to remain going concerns over the years with this great library evil blocking their ability to earn profit? I mean, to be fair, shouldn't we close libraries? Shouldn't we force all of those evil citizens who are currently reading for free to fork over the full price for each book they read? This would be fair, wouldn't it? It would stop the libraries from inflicting needlesss agony and unethical loss on those poor publishers......

Libraries are actually one of the major buyers of books. If 1000 libraries each have a copy of a book, that's 1000 sales for the author. Moreover, they often pay MORE for their books than the ordinary buyer.

NatCh
12-11-2007, 11:28 AM
Moreover, they often pay MORE for their books than the ordinary buyer.Anyone have any idea if that translate to more money to the author? It'd be nice if it did, but my cynical mind is suspicious that it doesn't :sad:

If someone knows the answer I'd really like to hear it. :yes:

eppythacher
12-11-2007, 11:29 AM
The morality in sharing is a moot point. The genie is out of the bottle, DRM will only hurt and alienate legitimate customers, you can't stop sharing so you will need to switch your business model. Alcohol in 2004 caused many deaths but no
one (other than MADD) is advocating that we go back to prohibition. If selling alcohol is legal why not make copyright infringement legal? Oh right, because in
America it's better to lose life than money. I mean really, I can sell alcohol that
causes all these problems but if some "steals" my process for distilling etc and shares it on the internet that's illegal? Really?

http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/alcohol.htm

Mortality

Number of alcohol-induced deaths, excluding accidents and homicides: 21,081

Number of alcoholic liver disease deaths: 12,548

wgrimm
12-11-2007, 11:40 AM
Libraries are actually one of the major buyers of books. If 1000 libraries each have a copy of a book, that's 1000 sales for the author. Moreover, they often pay MORE for their books than the ordinary buyer.


Oh, I don't dispute that. BUT- if each lending costs the publishers a sale, well, they are also one of the biggest causes of profit loss for publishers. If 1000 libraries each have a copy of the book, and each copy means 50 lost sales for the publisher, that means 1000 sales instead of the 50,000 possible sales. Doesn't look like great economics.....

Looks like, if each lending here means a lost sale, that those libraries are causing the publisher to LOSE 49,000 sales!!!!!

JSWolf
12-11-2007, 11:52 AM
I think this thread needs a new poll, to determine:

How many people who take e-books for free, actually work for a living?
How many people who work for a living believe they deserve every penny of what they get (and then some)?
How many people would still be doing their jobs if told they would no longer be paid? and
How many people believe that total strangers, not connected with their work, should dictate how much they deserve to get paid?

What I'd be interested to see is how many people answer "Yes" to every question.

For the old poll, maybe we should add the category:
"You can't cause a spark when the area's already ablaze."

I've created this new poll over at http://www.mobileread.com/forums/showthread.php?t=17189

JSWolf
12-11-2007, 12:05 PM
(Your MP3 example does not fit this situation: Ripping it yourself from the CD you own is not the same as getting it from someone else. If you want to argue that point, scan and OCR the book yourself. And don't send a copy of the e-book to anybody.)
If I have a CD and I want to rip it to put the music on my DAP, I can do that. Nobody is saying I cannot. Now, lets say my DVD drive is broken so that I cannot rip this CD, would it be an issue if I asked someone who also owns this same CD to rip it and send it to me via the net? IMHO, I think it would not be a problem. It would still come under fair use. I own the CD. I have the software to rip the CD. I just don't have the drive till my new one is here and installed.

Let's take an ebook that someone scanned and is not available for sale. I know legally it is wrong to download it should I get the chance to. But if I download it and then buy it once it became available in an ebook format I can use, would that be morally wrong?

Another issue that is a problem that needs to be sort is the tower of ebable. Let's say I find a legal ebook in PDF but not a format I can use. If I then find a copy on the net in a format I can either convert or use as is, is it OK for me to download this copy and use it as long as I also purchase the PDF copy even though I cannot use the PDF copy? Morally, I'd say it's ok. Legally, it's not. But in this case, the author has been compensated even though an illegal download was performed.

The laws need to be looked at in regards to digital content and changes makde to compensate for digital content. There are a lot of things with digital content that the laws do not take into account. like the situation above. We can make life so much easier if we fix the broken laws such that the user is happy and the content provider(s) get compensated.

HarryT
12-11-2007, 12:08 PM
Oh, I don't dispute that. BUT- if each lending costs the publishers a sale, well, they are also one of the biggest causes of profit loss for publishers. If 1000 libraries each have a copy of the book, and each copy means 50 lost sales for the publisher, that means 1000 sales instead of the 50,000 possible sales. Doesn't look like great economics.....

Looks like, if each lending here means a lost sale, that those libraries are causing the publisher to LOSE 49,000 sales!!!!!

And do you believe this to be the case? I don't, any more than I believe that anyone who downloads an illegal eBook would have bought it. My objection to the latter is not primarily lost sales, but the principle of committing a crime.

JSWolf
12-11-2007, 12:18 PM
And do you believe this to be the case? I don't, any more than I believe that anyone who downloads an illegal eBook would have bought it. My objection to the latter is not primarily lost sales, but the principle of committing a crime.
Here is a situation I'd like your take on it.

You purchase a legal ebook. You load it on your reader but find that either due to too many errors or poor formatting or both, you just cannot enjoy reading that book. So you stop reading it. You go back to the shop you got it from and ask for a refund and you are told no. Sometime in future you happen to find an ebook copy of this same book that someone scanned. You download this copy and convert it and format it how you like. You still have the legal copy and now the illegal copy. You paid for the legal copy, but have been unable to read it. Do you see there to be a moral issue here? I kow technically legally the law was broken.

HarryT
12-11-2007, 12:33 PM
Here is a situation I'd like your take on it.

You purchase a legal ebook. You load it on your reader but find that either due to too many errors or poor formatting or both, you just cannot enjoy reading that book. So you stop reading it. You go back to the shop you got it from and ask for a refund and you are told no. Sometime in future you happen to find an ebook copy of this same book that someone scanned. You download this copy and convert it and format it how you like. You still have the legal copy and now the illegal copy. You paid for the legal copy, but have been unable to read it. Do you see there to be a moral issue here? I kow technically legally the law was broken.

No Jon, I have no "moral" problem with that from YOUR point of view. What I have the problem with is the fact that the illegal book is "out there in the wild" in the first place. You have paid for it, but there will be thousands of other downloaders who have not.

Steven Lyle Jordan
12-11-2007, 12:37 PM
You purchase a legal ebook. You load it on your reader but find that either due to too many errors or poor formatting or both, you just cannot enjoy reading that book. So you stop reading it. You go back to the shop you got it from and ask for a refund and you are told no. Sometime in future you happen to find an ebook copy of this same book that someone scanned. You download this copy and convert it and format it how you like. You still have the legal copy and now the illegal copy. You paid for the legal copy, but have been unable to read it. Do you see there to be a moral issue here? I kow technically legally the law was broken.

The moral issue here is that the store who sold you the badly-formatted copy should have given you your money back. Now you know what kind of store that is, hopefully you won't shop there anymore, you'll warn others, and eventually, they'll have to clean up their act and sell good stuff.

The legal issue here is... you still took an illegal copy of the book. That doesn't change, no matter what-all you bought before.

DaleDe
12-11-2007, 12:40 PM
No Jon, I have no "moral" problem with that from YOUR point of view. What I have the problem with is the fact that the illegal book is "out there in the wild" in the first place. You have paid for it, but there will be thousands of other downloaders who have not.

Any most of them probably think you were stupid to have paid for it.

Dale

Steven Lyle Jordan
12-11-2007, 12:43 PM
Another issue that is a problem that needs to be sort is the tower of ebable.

I think most would agree that the many disparate formats of e-books has been a major contributor to the issues of theft and piracy... primarily by adding confusion and frustration to the overall picture, elements that tend to "loosen" people's morals in direct proportion to the amount of confusion and frustration they encounter.

As the music industry is currently demonstrating, settling on a single format (or two, considering iTunes) would be key to reigning in much of the confusion and frustration, standardizing systems, and making it easier to create a fair and understandable system that benefits both the consumer and the creator.

E-book readers that can handle all of the standardized formats would help, too.

Alisa
12-11-2007, 01:12 PM
Let's take an ebook that someone scanned and is not available for sale. I know legally it is wrong to download it should I get the chance to. But if I download it and then buy it once it became available in an ebook format I can use, would that be morally wrong?

I asked this same question yesterday and told that of course it was immoral and that I was a liar for saying that I would actually buy the legal book when available.

Edit to add: Also in my scenario I actually would own the paper copy, too.

Sparrow
12-11-2007, 01:18 PM
My hypothetical scenario involves a visually impaired person who can't read any commercially available printed versions.
They buy an eVersion, and use it to print off an illegal copy in a huge font that they can read.

The problem is, I can't decide if they should get five years or ten. :rolleyes:

tompe
12-11-2007, 01:24 PM
Anyone have any idea if that translate to more money to the author? It'd be nice if it did, but my cynical mind is suspicious that it doesn't :sad:

If someone knows the answer I'd really like to hear it. :yes:

In some countries you use tax money to pay money to translators and authors. The amount depend on how many times the book was borrowed.
So in that case the publisher is bypassed.

tompe
12-11-2007, 01:37 PM
By the letter of the law, yes. However, I believe in "fair use," which means for your own use. Not to share.

As I wrote before "fair use" or similar concepts have different meaning in different countries. And "fair use" can be allowed by the laws. And in Sweden it is allowed to copy something and give it to a friend. You can copy a music CD to tape and give to a friend and it is allowed according to the laws.


You didn't say YOU scanned YOUR book... you said HE scanned HIS book. And gave a COPY to you. That violates "fair use."


I meant that the friend scanned his (or my) book and gave it to me. And I wondered how you morally motivate that if you scan it yourself it is OK but if you get the scan from a friend it is not OK. It seems that your motivation is not that something is illegal since your opinion seems to be that it is morally wrong to get the copy from a friend independent of if it is legal or not. Is your argument a property right argument or is it a utilitarian argument?


However, they do not have the right to scan a book copywritten in someone else's name, and give you a copy, if they weren't specifically authorized to do so by the copyright holder. It's immaterial what they charge... they didn't have the right to do it in the first place.


And if they have the right according to the laws is it OK then?

Steven Lyle Jordan
12-11-2007, 01:38 PM
My hypothetical scenario involves a visually impaired person who can't read any commercially available printed versions.
They buy an eVersion, and use it to print off an illegal copy in a huge font that they can read.

The problem is, I can't decide if they should get five years or ten. :rolleyes:

According to U.S. Federal law, a visually impaired person is within their right to alter a document in a format they cannot use, into a document they can use, with perfectly legal equipment. Besides, since they bought the original, that constitutes fair use. No jail time for them.

Luckily for you, no judge will throw you in jail for sarcasm. :cool:

Okay, here's one for you: J.K. Rowling's dog manages to get in its mouth a copy of HP7 on CD. He trots out of her house, over to mine, and buries the CD in my flower garden.

Do I euthanize the dog for not understanding property boundaries, arrest the dog catcher for not stopping him, or just shoot J.K. Rowling for not having enough sense to own a cat?

(Multiple choice is permissible.)

Steven Lyle Jordan
12-11-2007, 01:45 PM
As I wrote before "fair use" or similar concepts have different meaning in different countries. And "fair use" can be allowed by the laws. And in Sweden it is allowed to copy something and give it to a friend. You can copy a music CD to tape and give to a friend and it is allowed according to the laws.

Not being Swedish, I'm not going to address or judge Swedish laws or morals (which is only right... morally speaking).

I meant that the friend scanned his (or my) book and gave it to me. And I wondered how you morally motivate that if you scan it yourself it is OK but if you get the scan from a friend it is not OK. It seems that your motivation is not that something is illegal since your opinion seems to be that it is morally wrong to get the copy from a friend independent of if it is legal or not. Is your argument a property right argument or is it a utilitarian argument?

Sorry, but that's not what you said. At any rate, what "fair use" specifies (in the U.S.) is that YOU make a copy of YOUR legally-purchased material for YOURSELF, HE makes a copy of HIS legally-purchased material for HIMSELF, and never the twain shall meet. It's really that simple. Obviously, if Sweden disagrees with this morally and legally, end of discussion.

And if they have the right according to the laws is it OK then?

Of course. If it's authorized by the copyright holder (or your government), go for it.

wgrimm
12-11-2007, 01:56 PM
And do you believe this to be the case? I don't, any more than I believe that anyone who downloads an illegal eBook would have bought it. My objection to the latter is not primarily lost sales, but the principle of committing a crime.

No, of course I don't believe that to be the case. <G> I also do not believe that e-book piracy is responsible for huge losses to publishers. And you don't believe so, either. So, EVEN THOUGH a crime- copyright infringement- is being committed when someone downloads a pirated e-book, it seems both of us are in agreement that a large amount of sales are not being lost by the publisher.

Right now, I am having a hard time understanding the heated passion exhibited in this thread. Okay, copyright infringement is a crime, it's bad, bad, bad, BUT- it is not resulting in lost sales (or at least both of us agree on this). By not resulting in loss of sales to the publisher, who is this crime actually hurting?

I guess "ethical piracy" would involve hardback purchase of a work by a library that then converts to e-format and uploads to the "DarkNet." <G>

Nate the great
12-11-2007, 02:01 PM
And do you believe this to be the case? I don't, any more than I believe that anyone who downloads an illegal eBook would have bought it. My objection to the latter is not primarily lost sales, but the principle of committing a crime.

All of the illicit ebooks I have downloaded I later purchased, with exception of those that aren't available as ebooks. I owned a paper copy of those already.

wgrimm
12-11-2007, 02:03 PM
Okay, here's one for you: J.K. Rowling's dog manages to get in its mouth a copy of HP7 on CD. He trots out of her house, over to mine, and buries the CD in my flower garden.

Do I euthanize the dog for not understanding property boundaries, arrest the dog catcher for not stopping him, or just shoot J.K. Rowling for not having enough sense to own a cat?

(Multiple choice is permissible.)

If you're living in Texas it's probably legal to shoot the dog, the dog catcher, and JK Rowling too.....

Xenophon
12-11-2007, 02:12 PM
If I have a CD and I want to rip it to put the music on my DAP, I can do that. Nobody is saying I cannot. Now, lets say my DVD drive is broken so that I cannot rip this CD, would it be an issue if I asked someone who also owns this same CD to rip it and send it to me via the net? IMHO, I think it would not be a problem. It would still come under fair use. I own the CD. I have the software to rip the CD. I just don't have the drive till my new one is here and installed.

SNIP

The laws need to be looked at in regards to digital content and changes makde to compensate for digital content. There are a lot of things with digital content that the laws do not take into account. like the situation above. We can make life so much easier if we fix the broken laws such that the user is happy and the content provider(s) get compensated.

Here in the U.S. the law is reasonably clear on your first question. The guy who also owns the same CD has gone beyond fair use if he sends you a copy of the bits. Even though you could rip your own copy if only your CD/DVD reader was working.

An odd twist on this is that it's arguably legal (1) for a friend to loan you a CD that he owns (but you don't) (2) for you to rip the CD while it is in your possession, and (3) for you to keep the bits after you return the CD. This one hasn't been tested in the courts, but has been argued by a number of highly competent lawyers & law-school profs as "highly likely to be legal under fair use." It seems morally wrong to me, though. You really ought to pay the artists and copyright holders for the content (IMHO).

The laws do seem rather out of date, except for the ever-increasing term of copyright.

Xenophon

Steven Lyle Jordan
12-11-2007, 02:56 PM
Right now, I am having a hard time understanding the heated passion exhibited in this thread. Okay, copyright infringement is a crime, it's bad, bad, bad, BUT- it is not resulting in lost sales (or at least both of us agree on this). By not resulting in loss of sales to the publisher, who is this crime actually hurting?

In the U.S., speeding is illegal because it can kill someone. That doesn't mean it is okay to speed, just because you didn't happen to kill anyone when you were speeding. It's not up to you to make that distinction, it's a matter of law. (And it's a good parallel, since so many people in the U.S. speed, on the assumption that if they are wary about it, they won't get caught.)

I guess "ethical piracy" would involve hardback purchase of a work by a library that then converts to e-format and uploads to the "DarkNet." <G>

Yeah, it would (in the U.S.). A library isn't allowed to do that, anymore than citizens are.

JSWolf
12-11-2007, 03:06 PM
I asked this same question yesterday and told that of course it was immoral and that I was a liar for saying that I would actually buy the legal book when available.

Edit to add: Also in my scenario I actually would own the paper copy, too.
I don't think you were called a liar. What I got frm the post was that we do tend to forget. Take the example of downloading an illegal ebook and then buying it once it is legal. How do you know it is even available for purchase as an ebook unless it happens to be on the front page of the book site you happen to be visiting or you see it in a search? We do tend to forget. I honestly don't see myself looking for that ebook on all the sites I visit. I sometimes go and have a browse. But most time I go looking for a specific book or author.

So what it comes down to is while you have all the best intentions in the world, we are human and we do make mistakes and we do forget. What if this book you downloaded, finished read and forgot out came out 2 years later as an ebook? I know for a fact that I would have forgotten all about it.

JSWolf
12-11-2007, 03:11 PM
Here in the U.S. the law is reasonably clear on your first question. The guy who also owns the same CD has gone beyond fair use if he sends you a copy of the bits. Even though you could rip your own copy if only your CD/DVD reader was working.

An odd twist on this is that it's arguably legal (1) for a friend to loan you a CD that he owns (but you don't) (2) for you to rip the CD while it is in your possession, and (3) for you to keep the bits after you return the CD. This one hasn't been tested in the courts, but has been argued by a number of highly competent lawyers & law-school profs as "highly likely to be legal under fair use." It seems morally wrong to me, though. You really ought to pay the artists and copyright holders for the content (IMHO).

The laws do seem rather out of date, except for the ever-increasing term of copyright.

Xenophon

Your friend who loans you his CD also should make sure he has no other copies of it on his computer or DAP. if aid friend does, then it's not OK to loan the CD. While I have this CD in my possession, it is OK for me to rip it and put that rip on my DAP. But when I do go to give if back, that copy has to be deleted.

Now, is it fair use that since my DVD drive is busted, that I loan my CD to a friend who rips it for me and sends me the bits and then deletes the copy?

Also, could the same thing be done with a pbook? He has the book scanner and offers to scan my book for me, so I loan the book and get back the book and an electronic copy.

Alisa
12-11-2007, 03:14 PM
I don't think you were called a liar. What I got frm the post was that we do tend to forget. Take the example of downloading an illegal ebook and then buying it once it is legal. How do you know it is even available for purchase as an ebook unless it happens to be on the front page of the book site you happen to be visiting or you see it in a search? We do tend to forget. I honestly don't see myself looking for that ebook on all the sites I visit. I sometimes go and have a browse. But most time I go looking for a specific book or author.

So what it comes down to is while you have all the best intentions in the world, we are human and we do make mistakes and we do forget. What if this book you downloaded, finished read and forgot out came out 2 years later as an ebook? I know for a fact that I would have forgotten all about it.

I'm a bit of a list maker. It would become a recurring calendar item on my PDA and I'd check from time to time. I've actually never downloaded an illegal copy of anything but, no, I would not forget. I take these things too seriously to leave it to chance.

Edit: I just went and checked his wording. He asked me if I'd "conveniently" forget. Not "it might be easy to forgot so are you sure you'd remember". Too close to accusing me of falsehood for my taste. Sorry. Still insulted.

Steven Lyle Jordan
12-11-2007, 03:25 PM
Now, is it fair use that since my DVD drive is busted, that I loan my CD to a friend who rips it for me and sends me the bits and then deletes the copy?

Also, could the same thing be done with a pbook? He has the book scanner and offers to scan my book for me, so I loan the book and get back the book and an electronic copy.

Yes! Yes! Both of those scenarios are permissible! Congratulations! You've got your electronic copy, and no one's going to the pokey! You could even legally pay him for his trouble! :yahoo:

(Provided he gave the CD back to you. You did get it back, didn't you?... :eek:)

Steven Lyle Jordan
12-11-2007, 03:32 PM
Edit: I just went and checked his wording. He asked me if I'd "conveniently" forget. Not "it might be easy to forgot so are you sure you'd remember". Too close to accusing me of falsehood for my taste. Sorry. Still insulted.

S'okay... you can take my name in vain if you want, we all know who's involved here.

And I'm sorry, but "I was gonna pay him later... I swear!" is no rationalization for taking something you didn't pay for. Whether you "intend" to pay them or not, the fact remains, you shouldn't have taken it.

Alisa
12-11-2007, 03:40 PM
S'okay... you can take my name in vain if you want, we all know who's involved here.

And I'm sorry, but "I was gonna pay him later... I swear!" is no rationalization for taking something you didn't pay for. Whether you "intend" to pay them or not, the fact remains, you shouldn't have taken it.

We have a differing opinion on what I have paid for and that's fine by me. I don't require people to agree with me. However, I prefer to keep my interactions civil.

Steven Lyle Jordan
12-11-2007, 04:08 PM
We have a differing opinion on what I have paid for and that's fine by me. I don't require people to agree with me. However, I prefer to keep my interactions civil.

Actually, I consider that I've been as civil as humanly possible, considering how out-of-hand this thread has gotten while various participants have given me inane rationalization after inane rationalization on how it's legally, morally and ethically okay for them to steal from me, because I sell "virtually nonexistent" e-books. Not to mention the barely-veiled "if you don't like it, get a real job!" comments.

Besides, civil or not, when you say something that's pretty much up there with "my dog ate my homework," you can't expect not to get some serious eye-rolling in your direction.

For the record, I don't "require" people to agree with me, either, and I have been in plenty of sane, objective, logical discussions in this forum, and not given people a lot of reasons to be upset with me. But this whole "okay, here's another scenario: there's this carrier pidgeon..." stuff has just gotten ridiculous, and beneath all of us to continue entertaining.

IMHO, I think it's time we stopped debating "what is piracy?" I think we all have a very good understanding of piracy, and didn't really need this thread to kick it around until it started bleeding.

Okay, end rant. ...say, weren't we talking about the Kindle here?

Penforhire
12-11-2007, 04:09 PM
Eppy, the morality of sharing is not moot now. Since the genie is out of the bag morality is the entire point remaining. Your choice, what you or I do, is defined not by DRM but solely by our ethics (assuming competence in darknet matters). So the right or wrong of the situation is the most valuable debate we can have concerning DRM.

wgrimm
12-11-2007, 05:03 PM
IMHO, I think it's time we stopped debating "what is piracy?" I think we all have a very good understanding of piracy, and didn't really need this thread to kick it around until it started bleeding.

Okay, end rant. ...say, weren't we talking about the Kindle here?

Had an interesting conversation with someone I work with the other day. I have been successful in convincing several people to give up Windows and buy a Mac. A coworker and I were talking the benefits of each type of computer, and I said I couldn't understand why more people didn't switch to the Mac, esp. given the Vista fiasco, and the superiority of the (BSD-derived) OS X. His answer- well, there isn't as much "free software" for the Mac as for the PC. Free? I asked. Yeah, you know, he told me, like off the newsgroups and torrents......

I make very sure that all of the software we use in the company is licensed, and have gotten into spats with various managers over this (comments like, "$130 for another copy of XP? Use a pirated copy..). The owner of the company has given me his support, or I wouldn't be working this job. I don't (and the owner doesn't) need the liability that might be incurred using unlicensed software. I also use open source/free software wherever I can- including 3 BSD and 2 Linux servers, Apache, PHP, etc.and the open source stuff is usually better. But how many people in the company use pirated software in their private (Windows-based)computing. I would guess about 90%.....

I must admit, I was a little stunned. And, BTW, give the Kindle about 9 more months before it crashes and burns. then, pick one up for $79 or so. Just like the REBs.

tompe
12-11-2007, 06:28 PM
Of course. If it's authorized by the copyright holder (or your government), go for it.

You seem to have changed your mind for you now seem to say that it is morally OK if it is legal. Then you should not make statements that seems to be universal about what is moral since it depends on where you live.

Steven Lyle Jordan
12-11-2007, 06:59 PM
You seem to have changed your mind for you now seem to say that it is morally OK if it is legal. Then you should not make statements that seems to be universal about what is moral since it depends on where you live.

If your government says it is okay... and a government generally bases its laws on the public's view of morality... then obviously it's morally okay for people in Sweden (or wherever the situation applies) to download e-books and give them to friends.

I still do not agree with this assessment. That's why I don't live in Sweden, I suppose. Sweden obviously follows a different set of morals from those in the U.S.

Please note: I am not judging Sweden against the U.S. Just saying it's clearly different there than here.

Steven Lyle Jordan
12-11-2007, 07:00 PM
Eppy, the morality of sharing is not moot now.

Morality is never moot. Ever.

JSWolf
12-11-2007, 07:07 PM
Yes! Yes! Both of those scenarios are permissible! Congratulations! You've got your electronic copy, and no one's going to the pokey! You could even legally pay him for his trouble! :yahoo:

(Provided he gave the CD back to you. You did get it back, didn't you?... :eek:)

If I had someone else format shift something for me, I sure would get back the original. I'm not going to leave it. I paid good money for it. So I want it.

JSWolf
12-11-2007, 07:10 PM
Since the Kindle is going to increase illegal ebook downloads, we'll just have to do away with the Kindle. Now What I want is for everyone who has bought one to smash it to bits and send it to me so I can make sure it's been destroyed. And Amazon will have to stop selling it. No more Kindle editions as well. No need as no more Kindles. :rolleyes: :eek:

Jadon
12-11-2007, 07:11 PM
I still do not agree with this assessment. That's why I don't live in Sweden, I suppose.
I'd hazard you don't live in Sweden for the same reason you don't live in Japan: you've no reason to live there. There's no compelling reason to uproot your life, move away from friends, and on and on. The copyright laws of another country don't even come into consideration. Little things like jobs and not speaking the language, now...

Alisa
12-11-2007, 07:18 PM
Since the Kindle is going to increase illegal ebook downloads, we'll just have to do away with the Kindle. Now What I want is for everyone who has bought one to smash it to bits and send it to me so I can make sure it's been destroyed. And Amazon will have to stop selling it. No more Kindle editions as well. No need as no more Kindles. :rolleyes: :eek:

LOL. I've often suspected it but now I'm certain you work for Sony! :p

Ervserver
12-11-2007, 07:26 PM
seems to me with the Kindle and its Whispernet big bro Amazon could keep an eye on people and and maybe rat on people who are stealing material. Potentially everything you do on a Kindle could be monitored as long as you have this feature turned on, which at some point most people will. Kindle phone home

JSWolf
12-11-2007, 07:28 PM
If Amazon ever did that, the Kindle would go under faster then the Titanic.

JSWolf
12-11-2007, 07:29 PM
LOL. I've often suspected it but now I'm certain you work for Sony! :p
Nothing to do with Sony. This thread topic is about the Kindle. Now if it had been about eink based ebook readers then maybe I'd have said they all need to go. But nope, it's about the Kindle so the Kindle gets to go.

Alisa
12-11-2007, 07:33 PM
seems to me with the Kindle and its Whispernet big bro Amazon could keep an eye on people and and maybe rat on people who are stealing material

They most certainly could. It would be quite an undertaking to monitor, though. I wonder if it would be worthwhile for them. Is there enough of an upside to outweigh the expense and potential business impact from busting people? I'm wondering how much the Kindle's audience even intersects with the torrent-downloading crowd.

Alisa
12-11-2007, 07:35 PM
Nothing to do with Sony. This thread topic is about the Kindle. Now if it had been about eink based ebook readers then maybe I'd have said they all need to go. But nope, it's about the Kindle so the Kindle gets to go.

Of course. I'm just teasing you about your Sony partisanship. Not that it's a bad thing. I'm happy you love it enough to sing its praises.

JSWolf
12-11-2007, 07:41 PM
But to be serious for a moment, I do think there possibly can be an upside to ebook downloads. If I am interested in trying out an author but do now want to spend the money and I find an electronic copy of one of the author's books online and download it, convert, read it and decide I like it, I could then end up paying for other books from this same author where I would not have before.

This same situation happened when Napster first came out. And due to Napster, sales of CDs went up 6% until the RIAA deiced to get Napster shut down and raise prices.

Now if we find out that ebook downloading causes a rise in sales of ebook overall, do we really want to do away with ebook downloads or do we want to let it go since overall it is having a positive effect?

wgrimm
12-11-2007, 08:34 PM
If your government says it is okay... and a government generally bases its laws on the public's view of morality... then obviously it's morally okay for people in Sweden (or wherever the situation applies) to download e-books and give them to friends.


Hmmm....So morality and ethics are all relative? I don't think I could ever base my sense of ethics on "If my government says it's okay." If that is truly the case, Nazis were ethical in their gassing of jews and gypsies- because their government said it was okay!

Steven Lyle Jordan
12-11-2007, 09:42 PM
Hmmm....So morality and ethics are all relative? I don't think I could ever base my sense of ethics on "If my government says it's okay." If that is truly the case, Nazis were ethical in their gassing of jews and gypsies- because their government said it was okay!

I'd call that a serious stretch... although you could probably say that it was morally right to the Nazis.

Morals really do change from group to group... my morals aren't exactly yours in every way. If law is based on morals, and different countries have different laws, it follows that different countries have different morals. For instance, "an eye for an eye" punishment is a recognized moral stance in some places, where in others the stripping of rights or freedoms is acceptable, and others use both based on degree or transgression.

That doesn't necessarily mean every culture with different morals than yours is automatically evil... just different. (The extreme cases... like Nazis... usually get weeded out over time.)

In reference to Sweden vs the U.S., we're talking about "fair use" being the difference between sharing copies with a friend (Sweden) vs making copies just for yourself (U.S.). The fact that one culture sees that issue differently than another isn't enough reason to lambast or condemn the other culture. It's also not an extreme difference in viewpoint, so in general, both countries can coexist without fighting over that point. (Just arguing in web forums.)

As I've indicated before, if I don't agree with a country's morals, I should not go to or do business with that country. If I like another country's morals more than my country's morals, it's a reason to think about moving.

Steven Lyle Jordan
12-11-2007, 09:49 PM
But to be serious for a moment, I do think there possibly can be an upside to ebook downloads. If I am interested in trying out an author but do now want to spend the money and I find an electronic copy of one of the author's books online and download it, convert, read it and decide I like it, I could then end up paying for other books from this same author where I would not have before.

Just as iTunes lets you hear a piece of a song, websites can (and many do) offer downloads of part of an e-book, say 1-2 chapters... hopefully enough for a visitor to decide they like it, and buy it. This method alone helps to curb illegal downloading of e-books, because it gives customers something to try out before they buy, and it's a method that I support (and use).

eppythacher
12-12-2007, 10:54 AM
Eppy, the morality of sharing is not moot now. Since the genie is out of the bag morality is the entire point remaining. Your choice, what you or I do, is defined not by DRM but solely by our ethics (assuming competence in darknet matters). So the right or wrong of the situation is the most valuable debate we can have concerning DRM.

I think it's moot because of my alcohol argument. Alcohol was illegal in the US in the 30's and it was a waste of lives and money, then it became legal, moral or not. Sharing is "illegal" but the moral point is pretty moot because you can't stop it, like alcohol. I don't think people argue the morality of selling alcohol, and I can prove that that kills people. Why argue about the morality of sharing? Because peoples' hard work isn't being fairly compensated? My whole point is that legally and morally we can sell and consume alcohol, and that kills people. What is sharing compared to that? Nothing. Of course, if I had a magic box that could create Smirnoff Vodka and gave the vodka away for free that would be illegal, not the fact that alcohol kills people and the alcohol company's could care less. By the way, I'm for alcohol, it shouldn't be illegal, because that doesn't stop drinking and it creates a whole host of other problems. Just like i'm for sharing, it shouldn't be illegal, because that doesn't stop sharing and it creates a whole host of other problems for legitimate consumers.

Steven Lyle Jordan
12-12-2007, 11:28 AM
I think it's moot because of my alcohol argument... My whole point is that legally and morally we can sell and consume alcohol, and that kills people. What is sharing compared to that? Nothing... Just like i'm for sharing, it shouldn't be illegal, because that doesn't stop sharing and it creates a whole host of other problems for legitimate consumers.

This is another rationalization that has nothing to do with this issue.

The fact that enforcing a law is hard doesn't mean it's not worth enforcing. It is in fact good to regulate alcohol sales and production... if we did not, the number of lives lost would be even higher. Same thing goes for speeding: Speeding kills, but most people speed, under the assumption that if they're wary they won't get caught. That doesn't change the fact that they still kill, and society should continue to try to catch as many speeders as it can, because it saves lives.

However... that's not our issue here. The issue here is whether or not the actions of a consumer are ripping off the producer of that content by not paying for it. Stop trying to confuse the issue with non-sequitors.

Stating that e-books are "okay to take" suggests that they are essentially worthless. Well, those of us who produce ONLY e-books, in order to avoid the world of print, might disagree. E-books are not worthless by-products of printed books, they are legitimate products in themselves, and they are the only product some authors and publishers use to make money... there are no hardback sales and big publishing contracts. If you take our e-books, we don't make a dime.

So, is it morally or ethically okay for you to take my only product and not pay me for it, just because it's hard to catch you? I don't think so, and I think most people would agree with that statement.

Maybe DRM makes things "harder" for the consumer... on the other hand, if the consumers were honest about paying for things they took, DRM wouldn't be necessary. So it's pirates themselves who are responsible for DRM, which they fight against, causing the creation of stronger DRM... a vicious circle that the pirates themselves caused and that they cause to escalate.

Penforhire
12-12-2007, 11:50 AM
We put age limits on the purchase of alcohol so even that is not moot. It is only a legal choice for adults. I would argue that tobacco is the world's greatest legal evil, causing the most cost and suffering. You may have noticed the most effective anti-drug/anti-smoking advertising these days is appealing to morals, since the choice to imbibe there for most people.

We are on an e-reading site. Why not argue the morality of reading? Or would you prefer tech-head discussions about how to access the darknet? The collapse of the publishing industry is NOT a done deal and we are leading to charge to wherever it ends up. If you convince one or two people here, they convince a couple of people, and so on. As much as I press Steve about our different views it is still useful to hash it out here. Play it forward.

AnemicOak
12-12-2007, 12:03 PM
Maybe DRM makes things "harder" for the consumer... on the other hand, if the consumers were honest about paying for things they took, DRM wouldn't be necessary. So it's pirates themselves who are responsible for DRM, which they fight against, causing the creation of stronger DRM... a vicious circle that the pirates themselves caused and that they cause to escalate.

DRM is less caused by pirates themselves than by author/agent fear of pirating. To some extent it's a valid fear I guess, in that pirating would be less work for those that do it. Since most of the pirated books out there though aren't from electronic source files, but from scans of pbooks, there's really no point except to lend a false sense of security. Heck, many popular authors books hit the net within days of their release and have no official ebook version. DRM did nothing to stop them.




I don't really know the answer, but I know what I want personally. I want to be able to buy my books electronically (far to few are available now). I want to be able to have a universal format or an acceptable way to format shift any file I buy so it's usable no matter what path I take in reading devices. Give me this and I'd care very little about if the use DRM. They could use whatever they need to make them feel better. If they want to charge me paper prices (or often close to those prices) for an electronic version of the book I need more freedom in how I can use that file.

I'm a big user of Audible. They use DRM, but it doesn't feel so locked down, because I'm allowed to burn those DRM'd files into standard audio CD's any time I want to. So if all of the sudden the devices that play Audible files dry up I still have an 'out' to keep the files I paid for usable. This is what I'd like for ebooks too.

HarryT
12-12-2007, 12:10 PM
DRM is less caused by pirates themselves than by author/agent fear of pirating. To some extent it's a valid fear I guess, in that pirating would be less work for those that do it. Since most of the pirated books out there though aren't from electronic source files, but from scans of pbooks, there's really no point except to lend a false sense of security.

As I've said before, DRM is like street lighting. There's ZERO evidence that street lighting does anything to reduce crime, but ask people if they want it and they say "yes" because it makes them "feel safer". DRM is just like that from the publisher's viewpoint. If, as a result of having it, we get eBooks that we wouldn't have otherwise had, I'm not going to complain. Trying to persuade publishers that they don't need DRM stands pretty much the same chance of success as trying to pursuade people that they don't need street lighting.

Steven Lyle Jordan
12-12-2007, 12:30 PM
DRM is less caused by pirates themselves than by author/agent fear of pirating.

It is certainly put in place by authors/publishers... but why? Because of three facts: The existence of P2P sites, chocked full of illegally-obtained files; their incredible popularity; and the documented experiences of the digital music market, the most similar platform there is to compare to. All of that makes for a very legitimate fear. If virtually or literally no one was using P2P sites (or the darknet, or the old newsgroups, etc) to pirate material, they wouldn't see a need for DRM, and it wouldn't be there.

So it is the activity of pirates that directly causes DRM, and their continued resistance against it that causes its escalation.

Xenophon
12-12-2007, 01:21 PM
Your friend who loans you his CD also should make sure he has no other copies of it on his computer or DAP. if aid friend does, then it's not OK to loan the CD. While I have this CD in my possession, it is OK for me to rip it and put that rip on my DAP. But when I do go to give if back, that copy has to be deleted.

I'd agree on that for moral correctness. But a fair number of experts speaking to a graduate seminar in IP issues think the scenario I gave is 'highly likely to be legal.'



Now, is it fair use that since my DVD drive is busted, that I loan my CD to a friend who rips it for me and sends me the bits and then deletes the copy?

Also, could the same thing be done with a pbook? He has the book scanner and offers to scan my book for me, so I loan the book and get back the book and an electronic copy.
According to those same experts the answer is that both of these examples are not OK under fair use. And yes, I did ask pretty much exactly those questions. It seems that if they give you the bits in any form other than 'on the physical disk you bought it with' they've stepped beyond fair use. These answers seem counter-intuitive to me, but there it is. :smack:

All speaking of US law and definitions of fair use, of course. And, of course, I Am Not A Lawyer and This Is Not Specific Legal Advice and all the rest of that hooey.

Xenophon