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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 12-13-2007, 03:25 PM   #61
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Ah. Right.
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Old 12-13-2007, 05:01 PM   #62
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Originally Posted by Steve Jordan View Post
Wait... did I miss something? If you buy the books, scanning them and OCR'ing them for yourself is covered by "fair use." Okay, it's a lot of pages, but still okay to do. Or did I misunderstand something here?
nekokami is correct.

Harry_T reiterated it 100 times on this forum It is illegal to format shift, like scanning your own book or ripping your own CD into mp3 album
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Old 12-13-2007, 06:10 PM   #63
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Originally Posted by nekokami View Post
The opinion I don't care for much is the one that says "piracy is rampant, you can't stop it, nor should you-- content should just be free now that it costs nearly nothing to make copies." But I think that's a very minority opinion, here and elsewhere. Most people are mature enough understand that even if copies are nearly free to make, original content creation (and editing, formatting, marketing, etc.) is not, and needs to be compensated. Some of us worry about how this is going to happen, so we toss around ideas like embedded advertising, social DRM, etc.
I am not sure whether I resemble this remark or not ;-) In case anyone thinks I do, I'd like to beat the poor horse a little longer.

I have nothing but the greatest respect for good authors, and I want them to be able to succeed. In fact, I would be in favor of giving them all lots of money out of the public coffers just to ensure that they can keep writing. I think it would be a much better way to spend my tax dollars than many other things!

But I think we're facing a transition in the way the market works. Any disruptive technology (automobiles, the Internet) brings with it challenges for certain ways of doing business (making goods for horse-drawn conveyances, selling copies of content). This is the "piracy is rampant, you can't stop it" part.

I also think that we need to embrace change, especially when it's inevitable, and recognize the good things that come from it (fast and cheap transportation, the end of scarcity of knowledge). This is the "content should just be free now that it costs nearly nothing to make copies" part.

But I still think that authors need to be compensated for creating the original work. I think it's a challenge to do so in an effective manner. I also recognize that it's a minority opinion, but it's not one I hold because I am evil, or dishonest, or because I want to cause people stress.

In fact, I think a "widespread disrespect for authorship" is the last thing you'll find on an ebook forum. I don't think I've ever seen any disrespect for authorship here - making it a very minority opinion indeed ;-)


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But I think taking a few of the worst extremist comments in this forum and extrapolating a widespread disrespect for authorship is probably borrowing anxiety unnecessarily. I just hate to see you stressing out over what I think is a very minority opinion.
I think stressing out about it is also a bad idea. No one who disagrees with you (at least, as far as I can tell) is doing so maliciously. It's difficult to feel that your beliefs are being challenged, and that there's a group of people who just doesn't believe what you feel to be self-evident. It's tough to even reach a common ground in that sort of situation (as I think we're seeing here).

One thing I found to be helpful in dealing with situations like this, is to try to dispassionately deconstruct your own beliefs, and the reasoning behind them. () Try to build a formal proof from them. Then do the same for your opponents'. It will, at least, remove the personal sting from the whole thing. And you might be able to point to the exact place where you and your 'opponent' are out of step. It can help in reconciliation, or at least agreeing to disagree.

Anyway, I'm sorry for any part I may have had in causing you stress! I like MobileRead to stay stress-free...
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Old 12-13-2007, 09:24 PM   #64
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Originally Posted by astra_lestat View Post
Harry_T reiterated it 100 times on this forum It is illegal to format shift, like scanning your own book or ripping your own CD into mp3 album
I know, I know... I just forgot where you were.
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Old 12-13-2007, 11:44 PM   #65
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I don´t understand the poll sentences ...
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Old 12-14-2007, 12:14 AM   #66
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I don´t understand the poll sentences ...
Neither does anyone else. (except possibly the original poster...)

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Old 12-14-2007, 10:23 AM   #67
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Well, my popcorn's finished, and this did turn out to be a very entertaining thread indeed!

Unfortunately, Jon and I (the original instigators of this thread) did two things wrong:
  1. We should have been clearer and more careful in our poll wording; and
  2. We should have made sure everyone could see our tongues planted firmly within our cheeks.
Heh...

This poll was supposed to be a moral test, seeking people who believed that they were justified in taking the fruits or other people's labors without paying for them... while they, themselves, worked at jobs that they would not do without the paycheck that came with it. As an aside, it sought to identify people who believed that they have the right to dictate to someone else how much their work is worth in the market.

As some of the other threads here have indicated, these concepts are viewed in radically different ways by many, and get even more convoluted in the details. Admittedly (and embarrassingly), I was not quite in my right mind when I came up with the idea of this poll in another thread, as I had been involved in an increasingly heated discussion debating the morals and ethics of online piracy... and finding myself surprised and frustrated at some of the things I was hearing. My poll idea was, therefore, an attempt to use irony to get others to see the error of their ways (and the superiority of mine. Told you I wasn't in my right mind).

Actually, I never expected Jon to make it its own thread. And once it was up, it merely provided a new branch of the same piracy argument (because it could hardly have been called a debate by that time) on this site.

However, I have to admit that, as tempers cooled, this thread has proven itself to have clarified many opinions and closed some open wounds (in fact, so has the original thread, thank goodness). Although even Jon and I have some different opinions regarding these issues, I'm sure he's as gratified as I am to see that, confusion aside, the spirit of honest debate and respect of opinions has (mostly) prevailed.

To those who have played along, you have my sincere kudos, apologies for any egos that have not yet recovered from their bruises, and congratulations for proving that this website is, in fact, a community worth reckoning with.

I'm glad I make e-books for you guys!
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Old 12-14-2007, 06:38 PM   #68
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Boy. This thread stopped dead so fast, it left skid marks...
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Old 12-14-2007, 06:49 PM   #69
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Maybe everyone just got bored and left.
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Old 12-14-2007, 07:38 PM   #70
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All of the answers provided seem to be slanted. No Go.
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Old 12-14-2007, 07:43 PM   #71
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LOL..all late.

I get it now.
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Old 12-15-2007, 08:19 AM   #72
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Jordan View Post
However, even among people on this forum who buy e-books, there still seems to be an opinion among many that an e-book is essentially worthless, specifically because of the extremely low (virtually zero) cost of producing them, the essentially "invisible" nature of an electronic file, and despite what work the author put into writing it.

This idea disturbs me greatly, more than any other idea presented here. The opinion that an e-book is, for all intents and purposes, "insubstantial," threatens to lessen the value of e-books in any form or concept, and that will only hurt the market and its potential over time. I believe the value of e-books to disseminate information farther, faster, cheaper, at less environmental impact and beyond physical boundaries, is great. Applying to them a value of zero will only hurt their ability to be recognized as legitimate.
I don't think this is the argument that has been posted, at least not the one that I have posted. What I have said, a few times, is that e-books are similar to software, in that there are sunk costs (R&D in software, editing, etc. etc.) in e-books, and that this makes up most of the costs of publishing. Once you have the book, production costs are close to zero. When your marginal costs are close to zero, absurd profits are possible.

What bothers me, and seems to bother others, is that what we are seeing in many cases is NOT an attempt to sell ebooks at a fair price, but attempts to sell e-books at almost the same price as paper books, thereby reaping enormous profits. E-books have value, but that value depends on many factors. Is it DRMd? Well, that removes a customer's freedoms, and decreases value of the product. Can the e-book be resold? No? Again, reduction in value and loss of consumer rights. Is the book locked to a single format, and thereby a single reader? Yes? Decrease in value again.

What isn't a fair price at $19.99 may well be if the publisher lowers the price to $3.99.
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Old 12-15-2007, 08:43 AM   #73
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Most of that I agree with, with just 2 caveats:

Although the low production costs of e-books (or software) may mean "absurd profits are possible," the fact is that really shouldn't concern the consumer... rather, whether or not the book or software has appropriate value to you is what's important. Worry about whether you will pay the asking price for software or an e-book, not how much the author's going to get at the end of the year.

And personally, I have never connected a book's worth to its resale value... it's a book, not a car. So I've never considered resale value contingent upon worth, nor decided not to buy a book because I wouldn't be able to resell it.
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Old 12-15-2007, 09:05 AM   #74
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I could not have put it better myself

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Originally Posted by wgrimm View Post
I don't think this is the argument that has been posted, at least not the one that I have posted.
I would say from the overwhelmig majority, I haven't seen this either, but it seems to be the "take away" that Steve comes up with in almost every case.

People (here anyway) WANT TO BUY eBooks from th authors they enjoy. There is little doubt about this.

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Originally Posted by wgrimm View Post
What I have said, a few times, is that e-books are similar to software, in that there are sunk costs (R&D in software, editing, etc. etc.) in e-books, and that this makes up most of the costs of publishing. Once you have the book, production costs are close to zero. When your marginal costs are close to zero, absurd profits are possible.
As this is my business, software, I can tell you that it is more than merely similar. It is the same process, when taken for what it is. An eBook is a Software Product, Literature Sub-genre.

What happens when it becomes a software product? Its valuation is determined by the market by indicators for software products AS WELL AS literary ones. One of those factors is utility.

And if this product is produced and sold with no analog capabilities, attachments or media/medium? Automatic market value reduction. But I believe you make this point below...

Quote:
Originally Posted by wgrimm View Post
What bothers me, and seems to bother others, is that what we are seeing in many cases is NOT an attempt to sell ebooks at a fair price, but attempts to sell e-books at almost the same price as paper books, thereby reaping enormous profits. E-books have value, but that value depends on many factors. Is it DRMd? Well, that removes a customer's freedoms, and decreases value of the product. Can the e-book be resold? No? Again, reduction in value and loss of consumer rights. Is the book locked to a single format, and thereby a single reader? Yes? Decrease in value again.

What isn't a fair price at $19.99 may well be if the publisher lowers the price to $3.99.
...and so you did. These are ALL valid considerations for a digital SOFTWARE product in a market where the consumer is quite saavy about these things.

I think $3.99 might be a bt on the low side, maybe, but its is a damned site more in line with the perceived value for what you "get" than $10 or $15.

I don't think that publishers OR authors really, truly "get" that an eBook is a software product. Look at what a typical $10 or $15 dollar piece of software "does" as opposed to a book, which for people in the eBook market is really a "one-shot" purchase as unlike music for example, most people don't read books cover to cover over and over again. They may refer to them from time to time, or re-read a really beloved book again, but honestly, "collecting eBooks" isn't like...at all having shelves and shelves of books to look at and walk by.

Hell, if they let the "fools" that wished to blow their own ink/toner and paper print out a copy of the thing if they wanted to, this ALONE would add so much more "perceived value" while costing nothing to the publisher (they already sold the book)...but even this obvious thing seems to escape them.

*shrug*
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Old 12-15-2007, 09:08 AM   #75
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Ok...

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Originally Posted by Steve Jordan View Post
Although the low production costs of e-books (or software) may mean "absurd profits are possible," the fact is that really shouldn't concern the consumer...
But it does. Its really not a philosophical question. its a market one.

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And personally, I have never connected a book's worth to its resale value... it's a book, not a car. So I've never considered resale value contingent upon worth, nor decided not to buy a book because I wouldn't be able to resell it.
Well no one can fault you for this, really. OTOH you really can't work up a good business model without considering that this is a very real factor for those that buy and trade books.

-K
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