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Old 08-05-2008, 01:45 PM   #76
Steven Lyle Jordan
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Originally Posted by cstross View Post
There's a fairly simple solution to the whole piracy problem, anyway -- not just books, but films and music and software too:

1. Legalize it,

2. Put a tax levy on all ISP mediated internet connections,

3. Organize a licensing agency to distribute the tax revenue to creators.
Well on the mark, I'd say. Making it legal, so it can be trackable through legit channels, helps to support itself, because it provides the numbers that vendors need to work out profit margins.

I don't think you really need to label the fees "conscience money," especially if you're offering services people want (or, at least, think they want)... it becomes a simple service fee.

A third-party subsidizers model (advertiser/supporters) would serve to lower fees paid by consumers, much as TV advertising does in the US... it could even pay 100% of the fees, if revenue returns were deemed large enough to warrant full advertiser support.
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Old 08-05-2008, 01:55 PM   #77
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I think I am probably right in guessing that almost every person contributing to this debate has a library card. With that card you have access to virtually every book and many more that has been posted. Quite simply, with the rich tradition of free public libraries, and 2) saves the labor of either purchasing the book as used or borrowing it through interlibrary loan if not directly from the local library (I think it important to add that probably many of us only have access to meager libraries).
Before you use the library argument you should realize that the Library does not just go down to a store and buy a book to put in the library as you seem to suppose. Libraries pay an extra fee and in some cases I believe they may actually pay based on use. They are very particular about new books although as the books age there is not nearly as much of an issue. No longer published, etc.

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Old 08-05-2008, 01:57 PM   #78
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Originally Posted by DaleDe View Post
Libraries pay an extra fee and in some cases I believe they may actually pay based on use.
Really? So, when I donate a book to a library and they put it into circulation, are they still paying a fee on it?

BOb
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Old 08-05-2008, 02:18 PM   #79
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Really? So, when I donate a book to a library and they put it into circulation, are they still paying a fee on it?

BOb
I am not sure how donations work. That may be a loophole but then again it may be that they pay based on checkouts. The terms depend on the publisher I believe.

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Old 08-05-2008, 02:59 PM   #80
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I am not sure how donations work. That may be a loophole but then again it may be that they pay based on checkouts. The terms depend on the publisher I believe.

Dale
I stopped donating to libraries when I found out what they did with the books. They did not become part of the library's source of books to lend. Instead they were sold as used books and the proceeds used to purchase books the library wanted to have.

My reason for donating was that most of my books were SciFi & the library had a very limited SciFi section. I wanted to see it increased. However it stayed the same as my donations were used to purchase general fiction.
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Old 08-05-2008, 03:20 PM   #81
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Originally Posted by nekokami View Post
Downloading books is also not the same as buying used books, as the number of copies of used books are limited, so the impact on the author's potential revenue is limited.
What about books which are out-of-print? This is both the vastly overwhelming majority of books ever published. No amount of pirating such books will impact an author's revenue.
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Old 08-05-2008, 03:33 PM   #82
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I must respectfully disagree. The purpose of the RIAA is not to "be nice" to people, but to punish criminals.
No, that's the government's purpose. The RIAA is not responsible for punishing criminals. They're not even responsible for determining who is guilty/innocent (although a lot of people don't seem to understand that). The RIAA's job is to look out for the interestes of the recording industry, nothing more. Not everyone thinks that taking large segments of it's own customers to court is a very smart way of looking out for the industries best interests.

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I think that, admitedly in a small number of cases, they've taken very effective action.
Actually, in every case so far their action has been anything but effective. They have essentially no proof for anything, but they are trying to scare/intimidate people into settling out of court. They're even using unlicensed (in other words, illegal) private investigators to try and track down individuals. The repercussions of that are still being fought out in motions against them.

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I'm sure that Ms. Thomas will think twice before "sharing" files on the internet again!
You do realize that the one and only case they have won (against Ms. Thomas) is about to be thrown out by the judge because the RIAA was lying to the court during the trial?

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Sure, they make the occasional mistake
The occasional mistake? All of their cases have been mistakes so far. The only one they did win was only ruled that way because the RIAA was lying.

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but I'm a big fan of the RIAA, overall


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Knowing that you're liable to lose your house if you share files illegally is surely going to make people think twice about doing it, don't you think?
People who seriously believe that losing your house is a just punishment for sharing a couple songs are the real criminals. Talk about a complete lack of objectivity/reality. I've read some really biased comments by you on this before, but that has got to be the stupidest thing I've seen in a long time.
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Old 08-05-2008, 03:33 PM   #83
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What about books which are out-of-print? This is both the vastly overwhelming majority of books ever published. No amount of pirating such books will impact an author's revenue.
Yes, out of print books are a separate matter entirely. I'm of the opinion that if a book falls out of print for some specified period of time (e.g. 5 years, though I'd actually prefer a shorter period) it should automatically first revert rights completely to the author (if living), then go into the public domain if it still remains out of print.
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Old 08-05-2008, 03:39 PM   #84
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Originally Posted by DaleDe View Post
Before you use the library argument you should realize that the Library does not just go down to a store and buy a book to put in the library as you seem to suppose. Libraries pay an extra fee and in some cases I believe they may actually pay based on use. They are very particular about new books although as the books age there is not nearly as much of an issue. No longer published, etc.

Dale
There are suppliers that specialize in the library market, like Ingram Library Services and libraries get books at a discount (I believe 40%, but it's been a while since I've checked.)

There have also been publishers like Gregg Press (which no longer exists) which specialized in the library market with additional sales to collectors.

And in some cases, publishers did hardcovers for library sales, and made money on the PB edition. A good example is the Doubleday SF line of the 50's and 60's. Doubleday published SF in hardcover for the library market, but their contract specified they got 50% of any PB sale, The library sales covered their direct costs. The PB sales contributed their profit.

Libraries in the UK remit fees based on checkouts, but I'm not aware of that being done in the US.
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Old 08-05-2008, 03:48 PM   #85
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Originally Posted by nekokami View Post
Yes, out of print books are a separate matter entirely. I'm of the opinion that if a book falls out of print for some specified period of time (e.g. 5 years, though I'd actually prefer a shorter period) it should automatically first revert rights completely to the author (if living), then go into the public domain if it still remains out of print.
Generally speaking, rights do revert to the author when a book goes out of print, though the author or author's agent must formally request that the rights revert.

David Hartwell, a Senior Editor at Tor these days, once recounted the time he was a Consulting Editor at Signet/NAL, brought in to breathe life into their SF line. It took him seven months simply to find out what SF Signet had under contract, and another five months to dot Is, cross Ts, and renew rights on stuff they wanted. At that, they lost properties, because 'they" had forgotten they had the rights, but the author or agent hadn't, and promptly asked that the rights revert when the title went out of print.

Ebooks and POD are forcing a redefinition of what "out of print" means, with current contracts tending to include specified sales levels for ebooks and POD editions to qualify a book as in print and remaining with the publisher.
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Last edited by DMcCunney; 08-05-2008 at 04:28 PM.
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Old 08-05-2008, 03:55 PM   #86
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Originally Posted by Ralph Sir Edward View Post
I've always wondered what would happen to the RIAA, if some of the innocent people got a sharp lawyer and countersued under the RICO statue.....
They basically are. Not RICO specifically, because from what I understand getting a conviction on that is REALLY hard, but some of the people sued by the RIAA are hitting back with countersuits which are very similar to RICO style laws.
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Old 08-05-2008, 04:22 PM   #87
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Originally Posted by DMcCunney View Post
Generally speaking, rights do revert to the author when a book goes out of print, though the author or author's agent must formally request that the rights revert.
Well, good. That's one step nearly done.


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Originally Posted by DMcCunney View Post
Ebooks and POD are forcing a redefinition of what "out of print" means, with current contracts tending to include specified sales levels for ebooks and POD editions to qualify a book as in print and remaining with the publisher.
I know... I didn't get into this above, but it's relevant. The main thing that worries me with this scenario is that ebook versions could get locked into some nasty format that isn't what most people want, but still sells just enough to keep the author from getting the rights back.

I don't know how I feel about POD counting as still being "in print." They tend to be expensive to the consumer, and not much margin for the author, either.
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Old 08-05-2008, 04:27 PM   #88
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Originally Posted by nekokami View Post
I know... I didn't get into this above, but it's relevant. The main thing that worries me with this scenario is that ebook versions could get locked into some nasty format that isn't what most people want, but still sells just enough to keep the author from getting the rights back.

I don't know how I feel about POD counting as still being "in print." They tend to be expensive to the consumer, and not much margin for the author, either.
See what I said about sales levels. Whether it's a problem depends on the wording of the contract. Low ebook/POD sales are considered evidence that the publisher has lost interest, or that the book has sold all it's likely to sell for the present.

Publishers are in business to sell books. Why bother trying to keep the rights on a title they are no longer actively trying to sell, or feels will no longer sell because everyone who wants it bought it?
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Old 08-05-2008, 05:06 PM   #89
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Originally Posted by DaleDe View Post
Before you use the library argument you should realize that the Library does not just go down to a store and buy a book to put in the library as you seem to suppose. Libraries pay an extra fee and in some cases I believe they may actually pay based on use. They are very particular about new books although as the books age there is not nearly as much of an issue. No longer published, etc.

Dale
Well... This varies, depending on what country you are in. In the US, libraries certainly can "just go down to a store and buy a book to put in the library." Their process is usually more complicated than that because they
  • Buy in serious bulk, and want to get a suitable discount
  • Generally try to have books that will survive circulation for a reasonable amount of time
As a result of these items, libraries tend to deal either direct with publishers, or with specialized distributers who both manage volume discounts and also provide services like reinforced binding.

US libraries DO NOT pay an extra copyright fee either at purchase time or based on actual usage. They simply buy the book. Some other countries have such fees (the U.K., for example). I've never yet heard a satisfactory explanation of how these fees make their way to authors (although I'm sure someone knows). I certainly hope that it isn't like record company accounting. Or Hollywood accounting, which is even worse.

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Old 08-05-2008, 05:27 PM   #90
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Some other countries have such fees (the U.K., for example). I've never yet heard a satisfactory explanation of how these fees make their way to authors (although I'm sure someone knows).
There's an overview of Public Lending Right (in the U.K.) at:
http://www.plrinternational.com/esta...trators/uk.htm

Authors register, and then the PLR fund is divvied up between them based on the number of loans.
Libraries' computerised issuing system tracks the number of loans.
In 2008 it worked out at just under 6 pence per loan, up to a maximum annual payment of £6,600.

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