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Old 12-22-2010, 01:20 PM   #1
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Paul Cornell blogs about ebooks and piracy

Thought some of you might be interested in checking out the following blog article by Paul Cornell, a british writer who's responsible for episodes of Doctor Who as well as various tv-related novelisations and also original sf. I don't know if I really agree with him entirely - ebooks and piracy are a complicated issue - but if any of you have some thoughts to add, there's quite a few industry professionals weighing in on the comments. You might want to add your own thoughts.

http://www.paulcornell.com/2010/12/twelve-blogs-of-christmas-ten.html
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Old 12-22-2010, 03:29 PM   #2
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Very interesting. Thanks for posting.
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Old 12-22-2010, 03:55 PM   #3
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Very interesting point, this:
Quote:
6: If everybody did illegally download, it couldn't continue as a practice, because no further music or movies could be made. (Except by those willing, through existing wealth or poetic poverty, not to make a living.) Illegal downloaders rely, parasitically, on an honest mainstream who purchase this stuff. The 'alternative revenue sources' that might fund every creator who's not already rich enough not to care simply haven't appeared for the vast majority. And it's hard to see where they'll ever come from when a dearth of illegal downloading can simply put an end to a market.
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Old 12-22-2010, 04:53 PM   #4
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1: ........(Actually, a hardback costs, one publisher told me, only from 50p to a couple of pounds more to make.)....
First they told us that the cost of paper, printing, distributing, warehousing and returning unsold copies was about $1 for paperbacks.
Now it seems hardbacks cost nearly the same as paperbacks.....
So the question is, why do they bother to print hard to read, ugly paperbacks at all? They could just print a second edition of cheap hardbacks one year after initial publication for those who don't want to pay publication-day prices.
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Old 12-22-2010, 05:17 PM   #5
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It seems to me that it might be that the situation in the UK, for ebooks, might
actually be an issue of more people who are stealing ebooks because they expect
to get things for "free". He totally avoided expressing an opinion on DRM. Here in
the states I think most of us are used to paying something for what we get and
usually hold anything available for "free" as suspect. In fact while most of us will
accept that we can only afford cheap Chinese made goods from WalMart, at least
for our routine purchases, we have available higher priced merchandise. So while
we may avoid the suspect "free" offerings we are likely to expect that someone
will be offering a cheap version of what we want in relatively short order. Therefor
we are more likely to look for, or wait for, the offer that we can afford rather than
consider taking any "free"/stolen offering. Not that we don't have plenty of dishonest
people, just that we expect to pay something, if we are to get anything of lasting or
significant value.

What I wish these Author based postings would consider is that for most of us, in the
US, DRM is the issue as here they make laws based on excuses/subterfuge, in this case
to fight Piracy while the DRM only restricts the use that the user can make of a
legitimately purchased product. The author and publishers have a natural and honest
reason to be concerned about Piracy, which this Blog addressed, but do they really
think that DRM is helping their cause? The blogger could have considered an issue that
effects those who DO purchase ebooks, DRM. No one downloading an ebook for free
has to deal with DRM, it's only an issue for those of us who actually buy our ebooks.
(Or perhaps the author doesn't consider the ebook to be ours, I don't consider it mine
until I have removed the DRM infection.) It is the Author's thinking in regard to this,
the use of DRM scams that I would like to hear. We have to assume that they are the
ones demanding it or at least allowing it.

Luck;
Ken
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Old 12-22-2010, 05:27 PM   #6
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Interesting point that circumventing regional restrictions could be fraud.

The guy complaining about refund for books at amazon failed to mention that bad formatting probably is the main reason to require a refund.
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Old 12-22-2010, 05:37 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken Maltby View Post
What I wish these Author based postings would consider is that for most of us, in the
US, DRM is the issue as here they make laws based on excuses/subterfuge, in this case
to fight Piracy while the DRM only restricts the use that the user can make of a
legitimately purchased product. The author and publishers have a natural and honest
reason to be concerned about Piracy, which this Blog addressed, but do they really
think that DRM is helping their cause? The blogger could have considered an issue that
effects those who DO purchase ebooks, DRM. No one downloading an ebook for free
has to deal with DRM, it's only an issue for those of us who actually buy our ebooks.
(Or perhaps the author doesn't consider the ebook to be ours, I don't consider it mine
until I have removed the DRM infection.) It is the Author's thinking in regard to this,
the use of DRM scams that I would like to hear. We have to assume that they are the
ones demanding it or at least allowing it.

Luck;
Ken
The DRM issue does seem to be misunderstood by authors and publishers alike. In the case of movies, blu-ray for example: the movies are encrypted on the discs. This is to prevent piracy. It did not stop piracy in the slightest, but the point with blu-ray is that I can watch the movies on ANY blu-ray player I want, even the one in my computer. The encryption does not prevent me from watching the movie, but DRM does prevent you from reading the ebook on the device of your choice. This is the show-stopper with DRM. In neither case does it prevent piracy, but DRM'ed ebooks do prevent the ebook from being read on the device YOU want to read it on. They seem to misunderstand that when you purchase an ebook it is yours to do with as you please, other than share/copy/distribute.
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Old 12-22-2010, 07:00 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken Maltby View Post
It seems to me that it might be that the situation in the UK, for ebooks, might actually be an issue of more people who are stealing ebooks because they expect to get things for "free"....[edit]...Here in the states I think most of us are used to paying something for what we get and usually hold anything available for "free" as suspect.
Um.... what? Did you just call all English people thieves? Don't get me wrong, as an Irish person it gave me a cheering laugh, but it's not actually accurate.
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Old 12-22-2010, 09:03 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by queentess View Post
Very interesting point, this:
Quote:
6: If everybody did illegally download, it couldn't continue as a practice, because no further music or movies could be made. (Except by those willing, through existing wealth or poetic poverty, not to make a living.) Illegal downloaders rely, parasitically, on an honest mainstream who purchase this stuff. The 'alternative revenue sources' that might fund every creator who's not already rich enough not to care simply haven't appeared for the vast majority. And it's hard to see where they'll ever come from when a dearth of illegal downloading can simply put an end to a market.
That's probably true with movies. But at the same time, most of the money made by musicians is from live shows/concerts, not song sales.

Still, I think the thing is nowadays the cost of entry for making stuff is really quite low. Want to make music? You don't even need an instrument or recording studio any more. All you need is a computer. Or maybe even just an iPhone.

Speaking of that, that's really had an impact on the game industry. Big companies are having trouble with charging $40 for a game on a portable (like PSP or DS) when someone else can make a clone (or something similar) on the iPhone for 99 cents.

A lot of people do creative stuff, like make music, movies or write because they want to be famous. Or enjoy it. Not because they want to be rich (which is all too rare).

Even if they don't make much money off of it, they'd continue to do it. Look at Shakespeare - he didn't have any copyright laws protecting his work, but he wrote and wrote and wrote. Indeed, back then plagiarizing work was sort of the norm. Or borrowing.

So I guess my point is, I'm not sure this would be a bad thing. Might end up boosting live theater over movies. Stephen King and Dan Brown might stop writing. No more auto-tune pop star of the year.
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Old 12-22-2010, 09:05 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by JeremyR View Post
That's probably true with movies. But at the same time, most of the money made by musicians is from live shows/concerts, not song sales.
Cite?
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Old 12-22-2010, 09:26 PM   #11
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Shakespeare made all of his money by taking a cut in the sale of each theatre ticket.

The blog post was okay. I disagree with his comment about one-star reviews being 'wrong' though. The customer (who is the one paying, in the end, for this whole infrastructure) has so little power and so few effective ways to communicate with those in charge. This is the only technique that has proven to get the attention of anybody influential. So I say go for it
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Old 12-22-2010, 09:52 PM   #12
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I think the author made a lot of sense

Lee
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Old 12-22-2010, 11:16 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken Maltby View Post
No one downloading an ebook for free
has to deal with DRM, it's only an issue for those of us who actually buy our ebooks.
This is a great point.

It's already easy enough to find anything one wants available free and yet people of integrity still pay for their eBooks. Selling DRM free books is not going to turn honest people into thieves.
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Old 12-22-2010, 11:33 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Hatgirl View Post
Um.... what? Did you just call all English people thieves? Don't get me wrong, as an Irish person it gave me a cheering laugh, but it's not actually accurate.
TANSTAAFL or "There ain't no such thing as a free lunch."
A quintessentially American idea. Ref; Heinlein or Friedman

As calling the English people thieves, my point was more to the idea that
they may have been raised to expect that many of the things they want
and/or need, will be provided to them as an entitlement. At least, more so
than those raised in the culture of the USA. (By the way I did say the "UK"
which I guess may be taken by some to have an Irish component.)

Then there is the matter of the fact that many of us Americans have an
ancestry that makes it logical to consider ourselves, in some fashion a part
of the "English Peoples". In my case, my family name came about during the
time my ancestors stopped over in England from 1066 to 1642, in fact quite
a few remained behind and are certainly considered English (assuming they
got over that whole Norman thing, by now).

[OT; Of special interest to the Irish might be Sir Nicholas Malby a distant
relation who had some impact there.
http://books.google.com/books?id=qd4...0malby&f=false
Sir Nick was scheduled for execution for "coining", I guess by chopping off his head, in
those days, but he agreed to fight in Ireland instead. So.. Sir Nick was nearly headless, just an observation.]

Luck;
Ken

Last edited by Ken Maltby; 12-23-2010 at 12:13 AM.
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Old 12-22-2010, 11:52 PM   #15
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Quote:
6: If everybody did illegally download, it couldn't continue as a practice, because no further music or movies could be made. (Except by those willing, through existing wealth or poetic poverty, not to make a living.) Illegal downloaders rely, parasitically, on an honest mainstream who purchase this stuff. The 'alternative revenue sources' that might fund every creator who's not already rich enough not to care simply haven't appeared for the vast majority. And it's hard to see where they'll ever come from when a dearth of illegal downloading can simply put an end to a market.
A standard ethical theory at work. If you want to figure out if what you are doing is right, try thinking..."What if everyone did this?"

I forget where it comes from...Kant? It's what I remember from my Science/Engineering Ethics class.

I'm not a proponent of copyright infringement, but then again, copyright law in the U.S. is way out of whack these days with regards to renewals and such. Not anywhere near what the original intention was in early U.S. law.

I feel nothing for the record companies and the movie industry, who have alienated me as a customer with their actions. For music, I simply do not buy any new music any more, minus maybe 2-3 of my favorite bands. For movies, I just don't feel bad when they're doing things like going after soldiers in Iraq for buying pirated DVDs. I still buy DVD/BD but I definitely don't care if people are pirating from them any more, and I don't feel too bad if I watch something "for free" somehow.

For e-books, I won't buy DRM'd content at full MSRP. So, my sales go to used books instead. Tough for them. I said in another thread, they should try reducing the price of the ebook after a year or two, like they do with DVDs. That's part of the reason for the huge DVD market (but admittedly, also one of its problems).

If I want a 10-year old book in ebook form, it should be down to $2-$3 or something...not still full MSRP. Like a used copy would be. Imagine if you wanted a copy of, say, The Matrix on DVD, and it was still $19.99 or $24.99. That's what they're trying to do with books still...and it's part of the reason so many bookstores have gone out of business.

Last edited by GreenMonkey; 12-22-2010 at 11:59 PM.
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