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Old 08-16-2012, 10:14 AM   #76
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Originally Posted by Jozawun View Post
You cannot be seriously saying that if we decide the moral/ethical value of a person's acts by his intentions, then we must grant monopoly IPRs for his creative work.
I rather aimed at the difference between corporeal and non corporeal.
If you accept only manual labour as worth of being recognised devaluing what is the think-part of doings, there would be only a small logical step of adapting this system to other activities apart from work or creation. Neglecting IP says "how something was done doesn't matter" (no difference if something was copied or created only the mere existence of the item counts)
I just showed where this line of reasoning would end.
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Old 08-16-2012, 03:53 PM   #77
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Originally Posted by pdurrant View Post
See my previous posts about second-hand copies.
I saw that, & consider it to be an economic point rather than an ethical one. I think your economic point makes some sense, but I don't see where there's any ethical aspect involved.
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Old 08-16-2012, 04:13 PM   #78
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I disagree. There are ethical justifications for copyright (aka monopoly intellectual property rights).

First and foremost, to encourage the creation of "intellectual property".
Somewhere in the Bible the point is made that "the laborer is worthy of his hire". Which is to say that a person is entitled to be compensated for his labor. I think this is an ethical proposition.

Historically, the method of transferring economic compensation for creative labor consists of buying a physical object, in this case, a book. But putting aside situations where the book itself is an artistic creation, the book is not what is actually created. That is, a book is just a container for a narrative performance which is itself the creation of the author's labor.

Copyright is merely the legal protection of the compensation stream. It insures that the compensation is actual paid, and goes to the laborer author rather than some other person. So the ethical argument for copyright is derivative - there is no actual ethical component to copyright itself.

Further, I don't see how encouraging the creation of IP is a matter of ethics. It's a matter of culture or esthetics, or so it seems to me.

Last edited by Harmon; 08-16-2012 at 04:21 PM.
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Old 08-16-2012, 04:26 PM   #79
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Originally Posted by Harmon View Post
Copyright is merely the legal protection of the compensation stream. It insures that the compensation is actual paid, and goes to the laborer author rather than some other person. So the ethical argument for copyright is derivative - there is no actual ethical component to copyright itself.
So in that case, why can patents be bought and sold like commodities or stocks, and held by corporations? Modern patent law- modern going back at least to the time of Thomas Edison and Nicola Tesela- has never supported the argument you just made.
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Old 08-16-2012, 04:40 PM   #80
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Originally Posted by Harmon View Post
I saw that, & consider it to be an economic point rather than an ethical one. I think your economic point makes some sense, but I don't see where there's any ethical aspect involved.
How can one ethically acquire a digital or copy of intellectual property for one's sole unrestricted use if it has not been paid for by someone?

Accidentally of course if someone got it illegally without your knowledge and gave it to you.

The author/publisher gave it to you.

You found the electrons making up this digital copy lying abandoned somewhere.

Perhaps it is merely a moral issue, that of right or wrong of which we all have differing standards .
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Old 08-16-2012, 04:45 PM   #81
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So in that case, why can patents be bought and sold like commodities or stocks, and held by corporations? Modern patent law- modern going back at least to the time of Thomas Edison and Nicola Tesela- has never supported the argument you just made.
Is the patent holder or other Intellectual property property rights holder not the original seller? If they sell the rights they are compensated, whether fairly or not.

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Old 08-16-2012, 05:13 PM   #82
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So in that case, why can patents be bought and sold like commodities or stocks, and held by corporations? Modern patent law- modern going back at least to the time of Thomas Edison and Nicola Tesela- has never supported the argument you just made.
I'm sorry, but I don't get your point. You are going to have to be more specific about what you are getting at before I can respond.
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Old 08-19-2012, 04:57 AM   #83
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Originally Posted by Harmon View Post
Somewhere in the Bible the point is made that "the laborer is worthy of his hire". Which is to say that a person is entitled to be compensated for his labor. I think this is an ethical proposition.
Marx said the same thing.

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Copyright is merely the legal protection of the compensation stream. It insures that the compensation is actual paid, and goes to the laborer author rather than some other person.
And yet most of the money does not go to the laborer but to the middlemen.
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Old 08-19-2012, 07:27 AM   #84
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And yet most of the money does not go to the laborer but to the middlemen.
That really depends on the book. What if the author doesn't even earn back his advance?
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Old 08-19-2012, 07:49 AM   #85
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Originally Posted by HansTWN View Post
That really depends on the book. What if the author doesn't even earn back his advance?
Publishers usually make money on a book even if the author doesn't "earn back his advance".

e.g. 5,000 hardback print run.
$25 dollar retail price
$12.50 wholesale price
$2.50 print cost.
10% retail price royalty
$10,000 advance.

Only sells 3,000 copies.

Publisher costs:
$10,000 advance
$12,500 print cost

Publisher income:
$37,500

Publisher profit(loss): $15,000.

Author royalties: $7,500. Didn't earn out the advance. Keeps all of $10,000 advance.


The book didn't earn out the advance. The publisher still made 50% more than the author.
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Old 08-19-2012, 08:01 AM   #86
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Publishers usually make money on a book even if the author doesn't "earn back his advance".
The publisher's costs will be a lot less for an e-book. Does a writer get paid more for an e-book to reflect the reduced costs of the publisher?
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Old 08-19-2012, 08:03 AM   #87
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The publisher's costs will be a lot less for an e-book. Does a writer get paid more for an e-book to reflect the reduced costs of the publisher?
It depends on the publisher (and what you mean by "more"). The best rates I've heard about are 50% of the money received by the publisher.

But I've dragged the thread off-topic again. Sorry.
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Old 08-19-2012, 08:12 AM   #88
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Originally Posted by pdurrant View Post
Publishers usually make money on a book even if the author doesn't "earn back his advance".

e.g. 5,000 hardback print run.
$25 dollar retail price
$12.50 wholesale price
$2.50 print cost.
10% retail price royalty
$10,000 advance.

Only sells 3,000 copies.

Publisher costs:
$10,000 advance
$12,500 print cost

Publisher income:
$37,500

Publisher profit(loss): $15,000.

Author royalties: $7,500. Didn't earn out the advance. Keeps all of $10,000 advance.


The book didn't earn out the advance. The publisher still made 50% more than the author.
You are only using print costs. What about costs for ads and promotions, transportation, storage, proof-reading and editing, etc?
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Old 08-19-2012, 08:19 AM   #89
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You are only using print costs. What about costs for ads and promotions, transportation, storage, proof-reading and editing, etc?
Oh, yes. There are indeed all those costs. And those costs certainly reduce the publisher's profit on a book. But I hope you're not suggesting that they come to more than $15,000 in the example I gave, or that publishers expect to make no profit on a book unless it earns out the advance.
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Old 08-19-2012, 09:14 AM   #90
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And yet most of the money does not go to the laborer but to the middlemen.
In the US, the two big book middlemen are Ingram Book Company and Baker & Taylor.

If the publishers were just middlemen, I don't think there would be such a focus on them.

There are some books where the publisher didn't contribute much beyond marketing. In a case where the book started out indie, and was taken up by a publisher (50 Shades franchise), we have proof of it. But almost all the time, when I read a book, I have no idea whether the publisher just took what was submitted, or did a total rewrite.

You could say that in the case of a rewrite, most of the money didn't go to the laborer either, it's just a different laborer who was ripped off (editor instead of author). However, it's not like everyone is sitting around publishing houses gossiping while the authors and editors do all the work. The work of the HR people and supervisors who hire the kind of editors that make books better rather than worse is also critical. And no one would be there without the finance people. Or the janitors.

There are companies where most of the revenue goes to executive salaries and profit. The big six are not among them. They don't spend much on lobbying the government, either. Most of the revenue goes, directly or indirectly, to creating product and getting it to readers.
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