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Old 05-25-2011, 06:20 PM   #121
ardeegee
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The problem with an industry that is based on selling digital files is that it depends on the consumers playing make-believe-- it depends on them pretending that it isn't extremely quick and extremely easy to make an arbitrary number of exact copies on their own, without depleting the number of source files in any way. It reminds me of the late, great WKRP in Cincinnati, where Les Nesman, wanting office walls around his exposed desk, put tape on the floor and pretended to have office walls. He expected everyone else to play along with him and "knock" when they wanted to talk to him or enter his "office." But those pieces of tape only counted as walls as long as other people were informed that they were supposed to pretend that they were walls, and chose to play along. Pretending that a digital file is something that is in any way a scarce resource that can be depleted or deprived from its source is putting strips of tape on the floor and expecting everyone to pretend that there are walls there.

Last edited by ardeegee; 05-25-2011 at 07:04 PM. Reason: typo
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Old 05-25-2011, 06:21 PM   #122
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Pirating a book is stealing:
Did you really need to derail another one by trying to shoe-horn different definitions into it? What is so wrong with calling it copyright infringement? It would have saved another 10 pages of oh no it isn't, oh yes it is.
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Old 05-25-2011, 06:37 PM   #123
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I'm 40 and I'm rare amongst my friends in that I feel obliged to pay for digital content. Pretty much everyone I know gets their media from the darknets. We were in our 20s when Napster was huge. My friends thought I was nuts for actually paying for songs.

I thought this would change as they got older and more prosperous, but it didn't. Most of my friends don't have TV service. The shows they want to watch are available online "for free" shortly after they've aired. They'll listen to Pandora and complain about the ads but it doesn't occur to them to just kick down some money. It seems to just bug them to pay for anything they can get "for free". Some of them have become digital hoarders downloading terabytes of art they'll never experience. They do it just to have it.

I don't think its so much an age thing as it is the comfort level with the technology. My parents and older siblings have no qualms about pirating stuff. They just aren't very good at it. When I mentioned usenet bins to my older sister, I thought her head was going to explode with joy. She, of course, assured me that she would only use it to download things she had in paper form, but I know she's likely hitting it up for more than that. The news group thing is funny. Part of my comfort with it is because I'm older. It was the internet we had when I was in university. People both older and younger than me are likely less aware of how it works.

I think setting the bar for "older" at 35 gives them a blurb that makes headlines but it isn't a good line to draw as far as technological literacy.
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Old 05-25-2011, 07:04 PM   #124
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Some of them have become digital hoarders downloading terabytes of art they'll never experience. They do it just to have it.
If a tree falls in the forest, but no one reads it, is it still a lost sale?
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Old 05-25-2011, 07:09 PM   #125
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If a tree falls in the forest, but no one reads it, is it still a lost sale?
In my opinion, no. I think it definitely skews the numbers when people try to study the economic impact of copyright infringement. Personally, I have more of an ethical problem with the media they actually consume. They enjoyed it but didn't feel like giving the producer his or her due.
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Old 05-25-2011, 07:19 PM   #126
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In my opinion, no. I think it definitely skews the numbers when people try to study the economic impact of copyright infringement. Personally, I have more of an ethical problem with the media they actually consume. They enjoyed it but didn't feel like giving the producer his or her due.
I can completely understand that.

What would you feel about the below situation, just out of curiosity? (And it's okay if you don't want to answer - I'm just honestly talking out loud here.)

Author A has an older book that is still in print. Author A would like the older book to be available in eBook form, but the publisher refuses to allow the conversion. Author A would like the book to go out of print so that they could make the eBook available, but Publisher P still retains the rights for X number of years.

Customer C owns the paperback copy of the book and would like to buy the eBook in question, but is stymied because the eBook doesn't exist due to Publisher P's refusal to convert and sell the book. Consumer C decides to download the DarkNet copy of the book, and sends Author A an anonymous Paypal tip on Author A's website because Customer C can afford to support a favorite author.

Customer C gets the book they want. Author A gets money to support their work. Publisher P doesn't get any money, but this is largely because they've made a clear statement that they don't want money in exchange for eBooks.

Is this piracy?

(The legal answer is, perhaps, yes. IANAL, etc. But in your/everyone-else-in-this-thread's personal opinion?)

Last edited by anamardoll; 05-25-2011 at 07:22 PM.
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Old 05-25-2011, 07:46 PM   #127
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I can completely understand that.

What would you feel about the below situation, just out of curiosity? (And it's okay if you don't want to answer - I'm just honestly talking out loud here.)

Author A has an older book that is still in print. Author A would like the older book to be available in eBook form, but the publisher refuses to allow the conversion. Author A would like the book to go out of print so that they could make the eBook available, but Publisher P still retains the rights for X number of years.

Customer C owns the paperback copy of the book and would like to buy the eBook in question, but is stymied because the eBook doesn't exist due to Publisher P's refusal to convert and sell the book. Consumer C decides to download the DarkNet copy of the book, and sends Author A an anonymous Paypal tip on Author A's website because Customer C can afford to support a favorite author.

Customer C gets the book they want. Author A gets money to support their work. Publisher P doesn't get any money, but this is largely because they've made a clear statement that they don't want money in exchange for eBooks.

Is this piracy?

(The legal answer is, perhaps, yes. IANAL, etc. But in your/everyone-else-in-this-thread's personal opinion?)
I think by the letter of the law, Customer C illegally downloaded the content and whoever shared it online infringed copyright. I am also NAL. I have no personal ethical quibble with Customer C's behavior. Also, C's behavior is less likely to be a target of civil action than the uploader's.

I am also sympathetic to the customer because I have found myself in that position of owning a paper copy but wanting the book in electronic form. If it's not available at all, I don't feel that I'm depriving the publishing house of compensation for the work they did in making the electronic copy. When I have it in paper and a digital copy is actually available for purchase, it gets a little more hazy.

It irks me to pay again, but I am not 100% ethically ok with just downloading the darknets copy. On the one hand, it is legal for me to scan my copy of the book. I could argue that there is no big deal in taking a copy that someone else has scanned. It follows the spirit of the rule. I have the paper copy. The other person freely offered their work. How about if it's a DRM-stripped version of the publisher's copy, though? Does the distinction matter at all if there is the opportunity to buy a legal copy? When I bought the book, was I just buying paper or also the right to consume the content?
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Old 05-25-2011, 09:33 PM   #128
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I think there is a difference between legal and ethical sometimes
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Old 05-25-2011, 11:43 PM   #129
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It is never stealing; it's copyright infringement, or sometimes distribution of illegal copies.

It's not "assault," either, no matter how hurt the author or publisher feels. Nor is it "murder," even if an author commits suicide from low sales.

Which doesn't mean it's acceptable or legal--just that "theft" is not the relevant legal issue. Attempting to assign a simple, emotionally-charged crime to a complex aspect of business law just shows that the anti-copying crowd can't get enough support for their stance if they use accurate terminology.
Thank you.

It also shows how successful the entertainment industry's PR has been in obfuscating the issue, by the number of people here who are failing to differentiate the terms and are instead trotting out the "But it's STEALING!" accusation.

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The problem with an industry that is based on selling digital files is that it depends on the consumers playing make-believe-- it depends on them pretending that it isn't extremely quick and extremely easy to make an arbitrary number of exact copies on their own, without depleting the number of source files in any way. It reminds me of the late, great WKRP in Cincinnati, where Les Nesman, wanting office walls around his exposed desk, put tape on the floor and pretended to have office walls. He expected everyone else to play along with him and "knock" when they wanted to talk to him or enter his "office." But those pieces of tape only counted as walls as long as other people were informed that they were supposed to pretend that they were walls, and chose to play along. Pretending that a digital file is something that is in any way a scarce resource that can be depleted or deprived from its source is putting strips of tape on the floor and expecting everyone to pretend that there are walls there.
Excellent example.
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Old 05-26-2011, 07:59 AM   #130
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Rather he was pointing out that the "gray issues" are a terribly small minority of the ACTUAL cases. Folks like to talk them up and obscure the basic reality. Taking commercial products without paying for them is stealing.

Pirating a book is stealing:

It's stealing whether or not you are too poor to pay.

It's stealing whether or not you think the corporations are evil greedy b@stards

It's stealing even if you wouldn't have bought the item in question any way

It's stealing even if you WOULD have bought the product, if only it was offered at a price you'd rather pay

It's stealing even though everybody does it

It's stealing even though copyrights are ridiculously long

It's stealing even though DRM does more to hamper legitimate buyers than it does to step theives

It's stealing even if you are too stupid to realize that "free on the internet" doesn't mean it's not really free

It's stealing even if you tell all your friends about how great the book is and they all go buy it.

It's stealing even if some authors think it's good advertising

It's stealing even if it IS good advertising

It's stealing even though borrowing a physical book from a friend is not stealing.

The very very very small minority of situations where it MIGHT not be stealing do not change the VAST majority of scenarios where it is stealing.

Lee
Is it stealing when you create a work under one copyright law/length and then change the law to make it longer? Didn't you steal from the public? Or is stealing from the public ok?
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Old 05-26-2011, 10:18 AM   #131
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It irks me to pay again, but I am not 100% ethically ok with just downloading the darknets copy. On the one hand, it is legal for me to scan my copy of the book. I could argue that there is no big deal in taking a copy that someone else has scanned. It follows the spirit of the rule. I have the paper copy. The other person freely offered their work. How about if it's a DRM-stripped version of the publisher's copy, though? Does the distinction matter at all if there is the opportunity to buy a legal copy? When I bought the book, was I just buying paper or also the right to consume the content?
I understand exactly what you mean.

For my own self, because I am blessed enough to have pretty much enough money to buy whatever books I want (within reason!), I always work past my irkedness and will buy the ebook copy even if I already own the paperbook copy. I do this because (a) I want to vote with my money (since I have the money to do so) and prove that ebook backlists can be profitable and (b) I'd like to get rid of the pbook copy to make space in my home.

Plus, and this really is a very important point, I think: I can AFFORD to do this. Not everyone can, so I'm not in the business of judging other people on this issue.

(Having said THAT, there is nothing that will irk me more than buying a replacement ebook and having it be poorly scanned and badly formatted. Rage on.)

I do strongly wish that more publishers offered a "customer loyalty" program - send in your pbook edition and they'll give you the ebook version at a discounted price. You could spin it as a green initiative! Or a charity program where the old pbooks were given to underprivileged children! Think of the publicity!

I'm often astonished at how uncreative and plodding the publishing giants are.
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Old 05-26-2011, 02:03 PM   #132
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I'm often astonished at how uncreative and plodding the publishing giants are.
For a very long time, they didn't deal with the public. They were like, oh, manufacturers of coffee mugs... sure, everyone had some, and you could buy them anywhere, but who knows or cares how they get made? Obviously some were better quality than others, and some people had specific manufacturer preferences, but mostly, people just used whichever ones were sold in their area.

Do the writers who make funny slogans for coffee mugs get paid? Do the artists of pretty pictures on some of them get paid? Does the public know what kind of contracts they have?

All of a sudden, people are *noticing* fine details, and getting heat-transfer machines of their own, bypassing all the traditional companies and making their own coffee mugs. (Actually, I doubt CafePress & Zazzle have put any crimps in the sales of BB&B's coffee mugs; the costs are just too high.)

And now they're being told they should sell to individuals, one-on-one, and take feedback from single end-users, instead of selling to distributors who will sell to stores who will sell to customers. Publishers were a B2B industry; the fact that their products were intended to follow a longer chain wasn't directly relevant to them.

I don't blame them for not having figured out how to manage a shift in the whole focus of the industry. (I *do* blame them for trying to grab the rights to all the aspects of the authorial process, even the ones they're not set up to do anything with. Demanding ebook rights when you don't have the ability to support them decently--like, with proofreading--is just asinine.)
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Old 05-26-2011, 02:54 PM   #133
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For a very long time, they didn't deal with the public. They were like, oh, manufacturers of coffee mugs... sure, everyone had some, and you could buy them anywhere, but who knows or cares how they get made? Obviously some were better quality than others, and some people had specific manufacturer preferences, but mostly, people just used whichever ones were sold in their area.

Do the writers who make funny slogans for coffee mugs get paid? Do the artists of pretty pictures on some of them get paid? Does the public know what kind of contracts they have?

All of a sudden, people are *noticing* fine details, and getting heat-transfer machines of their own, bypassing all the traditional companies and making their own coffee mugs. (Actually, I doubt CafePress & Zazzle have put any crimps in the sales of BB&B's coffee mugs; the costs are just too high.)

And now they're being told they should sell to individuals, one-on-one, and take feedback from single end-users, instead of selling to distributors who will sell to stores who will sell to customers. Publishers were a B2B industry; the fact that their products were intended to follow a longer chain wasn't directly relevant to them.

I don't blame them for not having figured out how to manage a shift in the whole focus of the industry. (I *do* blame them for trying to grab the rights to all the aspects of the authorial process, even the ones they're not set up to do anything with. Demanding ebook rights when you don't have the ability to support them decently--like, with proofreading--is just asinine.)


You know, I never thought about it like that. It's the same thing with high end furnishings and fabrics - the producers don't care what the end user thinks since they only sell to middle men.
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Old 05-26-2011, 03:32 PM   #134
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That makes sense, but the world is changing. It seems to me that many industries are now coming down to Business-to-Customer interaction. That's what the internet does, I guess.

Coming to the coffee mug analogy - I buy almost all my plateware online. Ten years ago, this wasn't feasible, but now it's easy. So I'm not limited anymore to what the local store carries - I have a world at my fingertips.

My individual preferences suddenly matter. I want something green! No chemicals in the coffee mug process! Created from renewable materials! Manufactured by low emission processes! Certified! Organic! Stylish! Modernistic! With a touch of panache and coziness.

Coffee mug makers and publishers alike will HAVE to keep up with the changes and they'll have to do it FAST. In a world of choices, I can be seduced into an OrganicCoffeeMugs.com purchase in an instant, and Bed Bath & Beyond doesn't have the luxury to play dinosaur.
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Old 05-26-2011, 04:22 PM   #135
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Is it stealing when you create a work under one copyright law/length and then change the law to make it longer? Didn't you steal from the public? Or is stealing from the public ok?
The old "they deserve to be stolen from" argument doesn't fly with me. Laws change.

The vast amount of piracy isn't about works of old. It's not about stealing works from the 30's or 40's. It's about getting the popular songs, music, ebooks of the here and now without paying for them.

There may well come a time when the free loaders of society become such the norm, that the producers will simply stop. The whole "I want the product of artists but don't want to pay for them" is not viable in the long term.

There are enough people who pay, who honor the value of someone else's labor -- today. But that is not a certainty for the future.

Lee
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