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View Poll Results: Ebook piracy and your thoughts
Who takes e-books for free, actually work for a living? 10 45.45%
Who works for a living believe they deserve every penny of what they get? 8 36.36%
Would you work for free if you won't be paid? 9 40.91%
Should strangers dictate author's wages? 13 59.09%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 22. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 12-11-2007, 03:52 PM   #16
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Hum Steve, isn't your answer more legal-oriented than dealing with morality as in how the question has been asked ?
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Old 12-11-2007, 03:56 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Jordan View Post
Find out who has the rights to the books, Brust or Tor, and ask them whether the books were authorized to be scanned, and free copies given out. And you'll have your answer.
But that's a legal assessment, not a moral one.

Morally, there's nothing wrong with what nekokami did.
Mr Brust is lucky to have the support of friends like that
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Old 12-11-2007, 04:00 PM   #18
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When I was in college, one of my professors constructed tests with questions that most of the students misinterpreted. My solution was to rewrite the question as I thought he meant to ask it and answer that question instead. So using that method for the poll questions:

1a. Do you agree that it is OK to take eBooks without paying for them? (My answer: no)
1b. If you agree with 1a, do you work for a living? (My answer: doesn't apply to me)
2a. Do you work for a living? (My answer: yes)
2b. If you do work for a living, do you agree that your work is worth what you are paid for it? (My answer: yes)
3. Would you work for free if you were not going to be paid? (My answer: It depends on the nature of the work -- I volunteer at church and am not paid for that. I invest a lot of time and money in a private school started by my family and am not monetarily compensated for that work. I do work at a computer company where I am paid, and if they didn't pay me, I would have to work somewhere else where I would be paid. I have to have some income to pay the bills.)
4. Should an author be able to withhold his work if he doesn't like the price he is being paid? (My answer: yes)

In my opinion, it is not right to reproduce and distribute copyrighted works without the copyright holder's (or their legal representatives') permission, except for "fair use". I disagree with DCMA and similar laws that attempt to narrow "fair use" to exclude format transformations. I also disagree with the extension of copyright protections beyond a few decades. I acknowledge that it may be "moral", in my view, to violate laws that I don't agree with, but I must accept the consequences of my actions under those "immoral" laws. (That is my definition of "civil disobedience").
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Old 12-11-2007, 04:20 PM   #19
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Gold star for kkingdon.
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Old 12-11-2007, 04:29 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FixB View Post
Hum Steve, isn't your answer more legal-oriented than dealing with morality as in how the question has been asked ?
Okay: Neko is morally good for working for someone for free. No question.

However, she is morally... not good... for taking files that may be illegally obtained. Here, there's a question... since Neko apparently doesn't know whether the e-book files are, in fact, legal or not. If she found out that they were not legal (i.e., given to her without proper authorization), she should delete them.

(This is one of those "buying a stolen car" problems: You are not wrong to buy a car you do not know is stolen, but you are wrong if you find out it was stolen and do not report it to the authorities and turn in the car. Even though you will likely lose your money, making it a lose-lose situation. That's why it's always safer to buy from a reputable dealer... but anyway.)
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Old 12-11-2007, 04:49 PM   #21
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Speaking to the technical detail of the poll, and setting the actual questions aside for a moment, the complication I see here is that the individual answers won't mean anything individually, only as they relate to the answers to the other questions -- kkingdon touched on this already, but I'll play the pedant for a moment.

For example, if I'm interpreting the choices correctly, we're not interested only in if a person takes books (that aren't freely offered by those with rights to do so) without paying for them, nor are we only interested in whether a person works for a living, but rather how those two points intersect.

That sort of intersection is really tough to set up in an informal poll like this though.
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Old 12-11-2007, 06:03 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by kkingdon View Post
1a. Do you agree that it is OK to take eBooks without paying for them? (My answer: no)
I think there's another shading here. One is "do you think it's okay," but then there's "do you do it," a separate issue. Is it right to hang up on a telemarketer? Well, it's probably not polite, but I still do it. There may even be a third level, "does it matter". If I don't stop at a stop sign, it's not right. But if it's 2am and I can clearly see a quarter mile in each direction down the road I'm turning onto, am I irreparably damaging the body politic if I don't come to a full stop?
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Old 12-11-2007, 06:26 PM   #23
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Meh! Nonsensical poll. Please reformat into English!
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Old 12-11-2007, 08:54 PM   #24
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So Jon, do you walk or take a lunch?

(It makes as much sense as the poll questions.)
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Old 12-11-2007, 10:48 PM   #25
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Most authors have a very rough time of it and make very little income for a lot of hard work. I see no justifiable moral reason for taking their work without paying for it, most get little enough as it is.
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Old 12-12-2007, 12:47 AM   #26
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I had an extended email conversation with Steve Brust's last P.A. a while back on the issue of ebooks. Brust doesn't know who has the rights. His P.A. thinks he holds the digital rights to his work, but she's not sure. His agent is slow to respond to questions like this, and much as I love Brust's writing style, I think the fact that he's over $100k in hock to the IRS attests to his organizational skills (or lack thereof). It would appear that he's operating under a "don't ask, don't tell" policy with regard to ebooks at the moment. He is aware that there are people who have scanned/swapped copies of his books. He is also aware that when he recently asked for a spot of legal/financial advice (and nothing more than advice), his enthusiastic fans set up a legal defense fund effort for him and money started pouring in, often with notes attached saying things like "I could only afford to buy your books used before, so now I'm paying you back" or "I have ebooks, which I couldn't pay you for, because there are no ebooks available legally, so I wanted to do my part to support you." Examples here: http://skzbrust.livejournal.com/68156.html

I make my living generating IP (mostly code, some writing of various sorts, one published non-fiction book so far). If I had to choose between a strictly legal business relationship with my readers and the kind of support Brust is getting in his hour of need, I know which one I'd pick. And I suspect I know which one he'd pick, as well.

Argue the legalities all you like. I feel good about being part of an author support effort that's doing more direct good than the pittance he'd probably get from legal ebook sales anyway. The CafePress shop has generated just over $100 in profit over the past three weeks, completely leaving aside the straight donations he's received. How much would he have gotten in ebook royalties this year? Plus, every shirt, mug, button, etc. has a copyright attribution letting everyone who sees it know where to find more of the same-- i.e. more books by Brust.

All I'm saying is that it's easy to forget that there are real human beings at both ends of this "legal transaction." I think the system works best when we all try to remember that, rather than demonizing faceless tight-fisted content monopolists or evil piratical thieves.
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Old 12-12-2007, 07:24 AM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nekokami View Post
All I'm saying is that it's easy to forget that there are real human beings at both ends of this "legal transaction." I think the system works best when we all try to remember that, rather than demonizing faceless tight-fisted content monopolists or evil piratical thieves.
Thanks for this. It should be required reading for anyone entering a copyright or DRM-related thread.
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Old 12-12-2007, 07:47 AM   #28
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This has to be the most confusing poll ever posted on the internet...ever.
I suspect it was an intention of the creator
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Old 12-12-2007, 09:43 AM   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nekokami View Post
I had an extended email conversation with Steve Brust's last P.A. a while back on the issue of ebooks. Brust doesn't know who has the rights. His P.A. thinks he holds the digital rights to his work, but she's not sure...
Not much you can say about that, other than the fact that somebody ought to be able to find out who has the rights... in terms of Brust's income-making potential, it could be highly significant, and worth establishing one way or the other (which should be his P.A.'s job, I'd guess).

I am not questioning whether your charity is deserved or misplaced, Neko. I am simply endorsing the idea that people shouldn't get ripped off by others. (It seems like about the only thing I've been saying for the past week!) Hopefully Brust's lack of info on his e-book rights isn't causing him to be ripped off. Hopefully whoever does have the rights isn't being ripped off.

Remember, if it turns out that his publisher has the rights, and that publisher finds out that Brust's books are being illegally disseminated as e-books (by Brust or anyone else), that could be considered a reason to cancel his publishing contract... which would really be ripping Brust off.
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Old 12-12-2007, 09:49 AM   #30
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Remember, if it turns out that his publisher has the rights, and that publisher finds out that Brust's books are being illegally disseminated as e-books (by Brust or anyone else), that could be considered a reason to cancel his publishing contract... which would really be ripping Brust off.
This doesn't make sense to me. Yes, it could be a reason for canceling the publishing contract if Brust himself was doing it, but I don't see how a publisher could use the actions of a 3rd party to break Brust's contract.
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