View Full Version : I'm sending a message to publishers.


Duiker
04-07-2010, 02:27 PM
I do not agree with the new pricing model for ebooks but feel bad for the authors whom I think will ultimately suffer a decline in sales. I recently pirated a book by one of my favourite authors and I am going to send him a personal cheque for $9.99 care of his publisher. This way I get the book I want at a price I feel is fair while also sending a message to his publisher.
Now imagine if everyone started doing that...

GA Russell
04-07-2010, 02:34 PM
A revolutionary idea! Let us know when the check is deposited.

abookreader
04-07-2010, 02:59 PM
ay!

While I applaud your willingness to stand by your convictions I personally do not have the bravery that would be required to confess a theft in writing and include a tiny slip of paper giving my name and address.

But if you end up in a jail cell, I'll happily send you a couple of "Thinking of You!" greeting cards.

Duiker
04-07-2010, 03:15 PM
ay!

While I applaud your willingness to stand by your convictions I personally do not have the bravery that would be required to confess a theft in writing and include a tiny slip of paper giving my name and address.

But if you end up in a jail cell, I'll happily send you a couple of "Thinking of You!" greeting cards.

Way to plant the seed of fear. Do you work for a publishing company?

poohbear_nc
04-07-2010, 03:51 PM
You can use an anonymous money order.

FizzyWater
04-07-2010, 09:15 PM
Can money orders really be anonymous? I thought the place where you buy them keeps a log of the purchaser and intended receiver of all money orders...

HarryT
04-08-2010, 02:45 AM
I do not agree with the new pricing model for ebooks but feel bad for the authors whom I think will ultimately suffer a decline in sales. I recently pirated a book by one of my favourite authors and I am going to send him a personal cheque for $9.99 care of his publisher. This way I get the book I want at a price I feel is fair while also sending a message to his publisher.
Now imagine if everyone started doing that...

With respect, your personal view that the price is too high is not a valid justification for obtaining the book illegally. Why not just read something else instead? Do you take other things without paying for them if you think that they are too expensive?

langshipley
04-08-2010, 05:12 AM
I recently pirated a book by one of my favourite authors

And here I'm wondering how you did it. ;-p

luqmaninbmore
04-08-2010, 09:45 AM
With respect, your personal view that the price is too high is not a valid justification for obtaining the book illegally. Why not just read something else instead? Do you take other things without paying for them if you think that they are too expensive?

Once again, copyright infringement is not theft. It is separate type of illegal action. Confusing the two does nothing but confuse the relevant ethical discourse to the benefit of the entrenched powers. In other words, people's hackles get raised when you talk about stealing. They don't when you talk about intellectual "property" violations.

Luqman

Duiker
04-08-2010, 10:04 AM
With respect, your personal view that the price is too high is not a valid justification for obtaining the book illegally. Why not just read something else instead? Do you take other things without paying for them if you think that they are too expensive?

My personal views are completely valid to me. Personal views are the catalyst for change.

Duiker
04-08-2010, 10:07 AM
Can money orders really be anonymous? I thought the place where you buy them keeps a log of the purchaser and intended receiver of all money orders...

I will look into this and let you know.
Of course I could always send cash but then I'd never know if it really got to the intended party. If only I had his home address. I'm going to do some digging.

GA Russell
04-08-2010, 10:51 AM
...while also sending a message to his publisher...


If only I had his home address.

But if you send the money directly to the author, you won't be sending a message to the publisher, which I thought was the primary goal of the endeavor.

Xenophon
04-08-2010, 11:20 AM
In a related instance, I once (back in the mid-90s) weirded out the agent for a couple of musicians. I'd heard a limited-issue (and self-produced -- no record label involved!) CD of theirs that I really REALLY liked, and wanted a copy. They were sold out. I couldn't find it new. I couldn't find one used. It was just plain flat-out unavailable... everywhere. Eventually, I borrowed a friend's copy of the disc and burned my own. Then, I wrote a letter to the agent explaining what I had done and asking them to tell me how large a check I should send to pay for the disc and also (of course) who should get the money.

About a week after I mailed that letter I had a rather odd telephone conversation with the agent. They couldn't believe that anyone would volunteer to pay for a "pirated" disc. Once I convinced them that I was serious—and that I'd've bought it in the market if it hadn't been made of unobtanium—they told me that they'd get back to me on it. About two weeks later, I got a formal note telling me that I should send $1 each to BMI and ASCAP (referencing account numbers X and Y, respectively), and that both musicians and agent would waive their cut if I would donate $8 or more to my favorite charity. They explained that processing the payment for a single copy of the album would cost everyone more in labor than it would bring in revenue-wise!

It seems that ASCAP and BMI are contractually obligated to collect the royalties regardless (and to then disburse them to the appropriate artists and composers, of course), so they had me send the payment referencing the appropriate account information for the album. The musicians (and their agent) chose to waive their payment because it was cheaper to do so than it would have been to take my money. And they all chalked up the time spent figuring out these details as "part of the cost of doing business"—specifically, learning how to handle such things should they ever arise again in future.

My personal ethics say that one should pay (or at least attempt to pay) full freight or do without. (Note that library and used copies count as paying full freight in this context). YMMV, of course.

By comparison, in Duiker's case, he's trying to pay the artist (author) directly. That's quite laudable, but it cuts out some others who really matter. Given that he didn't use the services of a retailer, I have no problem with not paying there. But the publisher has
fronted advance money on the book
provided editorial services
provided proof-reading, layout, copy-editing, etc.
done some advertising (maybe, maybe not)
incurred various production expenses related to the book (different in paper and bits, but still real...)

and isn't getting paid for any of that. Nor are they making any profit on the "sale" (non-sale, really, but...).

I would argue that Duiker would have done better to tell the publisher that they lost the sale entirely but that he'd have bought at a more attractive price-point. Or, he could have approached it as a negotiation—perhaps by sending that check for $9.99 and asking them to reply with a download link if they deposit the check (thus making the transaction at a lower price).

Even with all my quibbles, however, good for Duiker for trying to do something more than simply "pirating" (Ghod I hate that word!) the book. I simply feel that it wasn't quite enough of a "something."

As with any question of ethics, YMMV.

Xenophon

HarryT
04-08-2010, 12:29 PM
Once again, copyright infringement is not theft. It is separate type of illegal action.

Perhaps you'd be good enough to point out where I said that it was?

mykoffee
04-08-2010, 12:53 PM
Can money orders really be anonymous? I thought the place where you buy them keeps a log of the purchaser and intended receiver of all money orders...


We sell money orders at my place of work (the post office) and there are no logs kept as to who purchased them. Serial numbers are kept only so that they can be traced if lost or stolen.

If it were me I certainly would not include my name and address with any kind of note that I illegally downloaded a copy of anything!

Linda

dmaul1114
04-08-2010, 01:15 PM
In other words, people's hackles get raised when you talk about stealing. They don't when you talk about intellectual "property" violations.


But they both should raise people's hackles and I hate that they don't. I have no respect for people who support breaking copyright, violating intellectual property violations etc. I'm fully with the content creators and publishers on that front.

To the OP, go ahead and send the check. I'll laugh happily if they find a way to send you a fine for admitting violating copyright laws. Very, very unlikely that they'd bother though.

Shaggy
04-08-2010, 01:28 PM
Confusing the two does nothing but confuse the relevant ethical discourse to the benefit of the entrenched powers.

In many cases, those who confuse the two are intentionally doing so for exactly that reason.

Shaggy
04-08-2010, 01:32 PM
Do you take other things without paying for them if you think that they are too expensive?

All the time... it's called a library.

Shaggy
04-08-2010, 02:13 PM
To the OP, go ahead and send the check. I'll laugh happily if they find a way to send you a fine for admitting violating copyright laws. Very, very unlikely that they'd bother though.

How exactly is a private business going to legally send you a fine?

The most they could do is try to take you to court, but as you say it's doubtful they would even care, and extremely unlikely they'd win. I don't think they can find you guilty of something just because you claimed to have done it, with no other proof/evidence.

dmaul1114
04-08-2010, 02:17 PM
Yeah, like I said no way they could do it.

In criminal court, a written confession would be enough--not sure about civil court. In a criminal case the challenge would be proving the letter and check were sent by the person in question. Not hard to do as even if the letter is typed, the check will have a signature and they could get a handwriting expert to confirm it was their signature etc.

No publisher is going to go to that kind of trouble to try to win a law suit over an illegally obtained book, but I'd laugh at the OP if he tried for being willing to admit breaking a civil law to make a silly point.

Vs. doing the moral thing and just doing without the book (or getting it from the library) and sending a letter explaining why they weren't purchasing the e-book.

Shaggy
04-08-2010, 03:12 PM
In criminal court, a written confession would be enough

If they can prove that a crime actually existed.

I don't think someone can confess to something that never happened, and end up getting convicted for it. If they try to use the letter against you, just claim "oh, I just made that up to make a point, I didn't really download anything". They wouldn't have a leg to stand on unless they could show that the offense actually occurred.

dmaul1114
04-08-2010, 03:24 PM
Yeah, it gets into who's word they believe. In the criminal case the first step for the prosecution/police would be to get a search warrant and seize the person's computer and e-reader to prove that they have the copy of the file. Then they have that along with the written confession, signed check etc.

Again, WAY too much effort for them to bother, especially with one book. That's the problem with enforcing copyright violations, it's so much effort to detect and gather evidence to prove. So there left only going after major offenders who are downloading and sharing tons of content on p2p, torrents etc.

At least with physical goods, shoplifting can be enforced. When it comes to getting digital content without paying for it, they basically have no way to go after the small timers so there's very little deterrence.

Shaggy
04-08-2010, 03:29 PM
Yeah, it gets into who's word they believe. In the criminal case the first step for the prosecution/police would be to get a search warrant and seize the person's computer and e-reader to prove that they have the copy of the file. Then they have that along with the written confession, signed check etc.


Even that wouldn't matter. Proving they have a copy of the file does not prove HOW they got that copy. Possession of a file has nothing to do with copyright infringement.

dmaul1114
04-08-2010, 03:34 PM
Even that wouldn't matter. Proving they have a copy of the file does not prove HOW they got that copy. Possession of a file has nothing to do with copyright infringement.

Yes, but remember in this scenario they'd have a letter saying he pirated it, and a signed check that can verify that it was him who mailed the letter and check.

Having that admission AND the file on their systems would be enough for most judge's/jury's in my experience. As they have the admission, and proof that they did have a copy of the file in question. Many people are found guilty on circumstantial evidence a lot weaker than that.

Now again, this would be a civil suit, and I'm not as familiar with the civil system--but at the same time the burden of proof is lower there--preponderance of the evidence instead of beyond a reasonable doubt.

Shaggy
04-08-2010, 03:50 PM
Yes, but remember in this scenario they'd have a letter saying he pirated it, and a signed check that can verify that it was him who mailed the letter and check.

But zero evidence that there was an actual crime. There's a big difference between having a letter from somebody claiming to have committed a crime without any evidence that it actually happened, versus finding a particular person guilty of a known crime based on a confession to that crime.


Many people are found guilty on circumstantial evidence a lot weaker than that.

You're talking about circumstantial evidence that links them to the crime... not circumstantial evidence that the crime itself existed.

dmaul1114
04-08-2010, 04:03 PM
I think that would hold up in court. Having a written statement saying they committed a crime, and then finding the file would probably be enough in most courtrooms based on my experience. Would vary by judge/jury, but that would be enough for most IMO.

They said they downloaded it illegally, are tied to that statement by the signature on the check, and a search proved that they did have a copy of the file.

That's going to be enough to sway most judges/juries that they did obtain a copy of the file illegally.

Plus, if the OP isn't a wimp, he'd stick to his story that he downloaded it illegally to protest the pricing, even in threat of legal action. :D

Shaggy
04-08-2010, 04:11 PM
I think that would hold up in court.

I certainly hope that a legal system wouldn't convict people for crimes that never existed. This is different from convicting the wrong person of a crime, but is more like convicting someone of an imaginary crime. We're both just speculating though.

luqmaninbmore
04-08-2010, 04:17 PM
Perhaps you'd be good enough to point out where I said that it was?

You asked him if he took other things without paying if he thought the price was too high. To take something (i.e. to take for one's own use while depriving another person of that use) with out permission or compensation is a reasonable definition of stealing. He has not taken something in the sense that he as denied another person the use of that thing; he made an unauthorized copy. You are right, you did not directly say that he was stealing. The rhetorical weight of your statement lies in the equivocal use of the word "take." Taking a file (i.e. making a copy) is not the same thing as taking a CD. Your statement implies that it is. If that is not your meaning, however, I apologize for my misreading.

Luqman

dmaul1114
04-08-2010, 04:21 PM
I certainly hope that a legal system wouldn't convict people for crimes that never existed. This is different from convicting the wrong person of a crime, but is more like convicting someone of an imaginary crime. We're both just speculating though.

Yeah, just speculating.

But when the case is:

1. A person has a written statement saying they broke the law/regulation
2. A signature that can be verified as theirs that proves the confession was theres.
3. A copy of the file they say the illegally downloaded.


I think that's enough for most judges/jury's to believe a law was broken and the person did committed it.

And perhaps there could be more evidence if they really wanted to dig into it (which again they wouldn't). Records from the ISP that show the file was downloaded and from what site/torrent etc.

luqmaninbmore
04-08-2010, 04:22 PM
But they both should raise people's hackles and I hate that they don't. I have no respect for people who support breaking copyright, violating intellectual property violations etc. I'm fully with the content creators and publishers on that front.

Why? Why does it "raise your hackles"? Why does copying files elicit an emotional response? I think what the original poster did was not only ethical (although, a case could be made that he should have sent something to the publishers for their editorial and PR efforts) but also a liberating gesture: a concrete step to re-implementing the gift culture which can liberate the arts from the oppressive heel of Capitalism. Heck, even a return to the patronage system may be preferable. It would certainly serve to filter out crap and it has been applied viably to digital artwork.

Luqman

dmaul1114
04-08-2010, 04:54 PM
Because people who illegally download files are still getting to enjoy the content without compensating the creator or publishers. The only legal way to do that is to check it out from the library (who bought the copy, or received it as a donation).

It's not as morally wrong as say shoplifting a paper book as you at least didn't deprive anyone of a physical copy that then can't be sold to someone else.

But you still enjoyed someone else's hard work without paying for the right to enjoy it, and that's what "raises my hackles." If the author wanted people to enjoy it for free, it would be a free e-book.

Shaggy
04-08-2010, 05:59 PM
Because people who illegally download files are still getting to enjoy the content without compensating the creator or publishers.

"illegally download" is a pretty murky area. It's not really all that clear in many places that downloading is actually illegal. Uploading usually is, but downloading is much more questionable.

The only legal way to do that is to check it out from the library (who bought the copy, or received it as a donation).

BTW, most of the material on download sites was originally bought as well. There's really not much difference between piracy and a library in that sense.


But you still enjoyed someone else's hard work without paying for the right to enjoy it, and that's what "raises my hackles."

I really don't see anything wrong with that part of it. Thankfully, there are tons of examples in the world of where you can enjoy something without having to pay for it.

If the author wanted people to enjoy it for free, it would be a free e-book.

You're talking about using copyright as a guarantee of control, which is not what it was created for.

dmaul1114
04-08-2010, 06:29 PM
No need for us to get in that debate again, as we've done it too many times to agree. You know I support changing laws to give publishers and content creators more control over their products. I know you're thoroughly opposed to that.

Most people on here only care about getting their e-books and other media as cheap as possible and being able to do whatever they want with it. I'm on the other end and behind protecting the publishers and authors products.

And sure there are examples of being able to enjoy things without paying for them. But outside of libraries, publisher give aways etc. one shouldn't be able to read a book the author decided to sell (rather than give away) without paying for it. Same for music, videos and any other type of content.

Creators are free to give it away, which is easier than ever in the internet age. But if they decide to sell it, they should have the most control over it possible IMO. So again, just an agree to disagree with you and most of the posters on this and other forums.

dyrinn45
04-08-2010, 11:45 PM
Well i just filed my taxes and was going to spend a lot of money on books. I had $387 dollars worth of books on my ebook wishlist from B&N alone. I trimmed out all the agency 5 books, my new total is $67.00 from B&N, and $14.00 from the sony book store.

I hope that they get the message, i know they cant say "oh man we missed out on $320" because they never new they were going to get it...but i hope in the long term their sales fall and they see what a scam this is. And that was just 320 at B&N, my sony bookstore was probably close to $100.00, so i hope others are doing this, and i hope it hurts their pocket books enough that they get out of this.

EDIT: dmaul1114 this to me is not about getting it as cheap as possible. to me it is taking some new emerging market and completely destroying it. i have seen so many books that have mmpb books up for 5-7 dollars but have the ebook price of 12+ dollars. Not to mention they are completely destroying the ability for free market competition. People will say this generates competition, but it doesn't. If every site offers the next Twilight book for the same price, how does that create competition? Exactly. So we the public are stuck with whatever publishers think the ebook is worth(usually as much or more than HC on release). And this is just rediculous

HarryT
04-09-2010, 02:52 AM
If they can prove that a crime actually existed.

I don't think someone can confess to something that never happened, and end up getting convicted for it. If they try to use the letter against you, just claim "oh, I just made that up to make a point, I didn't really download anything". They wouldn't have a leg to stand on unless they could show that the offense actually occurred.

But it did occur. Or are you suggesting that someone should compound the offence of copyright infringement by adding perjury to it for good measure?

If you want to "send a message to the publisher", why try to hide your downloading at all; it rather defeats the point of the exercise, doesn't it?

rleguillow
04-09-2010, 09:57 AM
(trimmed)
I hope that they get the message, i know they cant say "oh man we missed out on $320" because they never new they were going to get it...but i hope in the long term their sales fall and they see what a scam this is. And that was just 320 at B&N, my sony bookstore was probably close to $100.00, so i hope others are doing this, and i hope it hurts their pocket books enough that they get out of this.



Nope, they never knew they missed out - but you could tell them. Every time I spend money over at Baen (which I do frequently), I sent an email to Sony using the customer service address on the ebook site similar to the following:
I just spent $xxx over at Baen buying ebooks. I could perhaps have gotten them from you, but you use DRM and I don't buy ebooks with DRM. Not because I want to do anything illegal with the ebooks, but because I want to be able to read them on any reader I choose to buy, whether it is a Sony or not. Not being able to do that is like having to buy my hardbacks all over again every time I move to a new house. Consider whether Apple has lost money since removing DRM from their music - and then consider whether DRM is doing you any good.

No, I never get a response. But it doesn't take long to send such an email, and unless we tell them they are losing money by their practices, they may never get the idea that they are not using best practices.

Besides, it makes me feel better. My small contribution to the war effort. ;)