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View Poll Results: Should companies focus on building sales or reducing piracy?
More sales are what counts; don't waste effort fighting piracy. 85 97.70%
Stop piracy first; we can't allow it to go unchecked. 2 2.30%
Voters: 87. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 10-20-2008, 11:25 AM   #16
DMcCunney
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Don't forget Sturgeon's Law, which says that "90% of everything is crap". The problem with information found on the web is that it's difficult to assess its accuracy. With a science book from a reputable publisher, you know that the contents of the book will have been peer-reviewed, and will be trustworthy.
That's one drawback. The other problem is that it's scattered. The web is a fine place (depending upon where you look) to pick up individual bits and pieces on a topic. It's much less good for a "start from the beginning" overview of a topic you don't already have knowledge of.

(And lack of existing knowledge makes evaluation of what you find harder. I used to see technical questions posted to message areas which got a dozen replies in a few hours, half of which were simply wrong. After a while, you learned which posters actually knew something, but you had to go through that winnowing process.)
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Old 10-20-2008, 11:54 AM   #17
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It's a sticky question for sure. I am happy to pay for books because authors are my version of sports heroes: They can do something I only dream of doing.

But on the other hand, I remember when we were first married and starting out, and the price of movies was too much, so I would hit the libraries and thrift stores for cheap books. That was our entertainment. Money was tight, and it would have been a problem to afford new books. So we would pack up some sandwiches, the telescope, and a book, and go somewhere in the countryside where it was dark. We would look at the stars, picnic, and read to each other (or listen to books on tape). Now we have satellite TV with DVR, and a lot of the romance is lost due to being glued to the tube. Sigh.

In a perfect world, I would read my ebooks and pass them along to the next person, just like I used to do with pbooks. It's more complicated with electronic books, because DRM is always watching.
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Old 10-20-2008, 12:13 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by DixieGal View Post
But on the other hand, I remember when we were first married and starting out, and the price of movies was too much, so I would hit the libraries and thrift stores for cheap books. That was our entertainment. Money was tight, and it would have been a problem to afford new books. So we would pack up some sandwiches, the telescope, and a book, and go somewhere in the countryside where it was dark. We would look at the stars, picnic, and read to each other (or listen to books on tape). Now we have satellite TV with DVR, and a lot of the romance is lost due to being glued to the tube. Sigh.
I saw a cartoon years back with a dazed and disheveled but happy woman lying on a couch, and her husband saying "Now do you remember what we used to do before we got the TV?"

You might consider drawing up a schedule, and specifying times when the TV is unplugged for the duration.

Quote:
In a perfect world, I would read my ebooks and pass them along to the next person, just like I used to do with pbooks. It's more complicated with electronic books, because DRM is always watching.
In that perfect world, the ebook would magically be erased from your system when you passed it on. With a pbook, there's only one copy, and if you pass it along, you no longer have it. DRM is intended to address the fact that it isn't that way with ebooks.
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Old 10-20-2008, 12:22 PM   #19
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I saw a cartoon years back with a dazed and disheveled but happy woman lying on a couch, and her husband saying "Now do you remember what we used to do before we got the TV?"

Ain't it the truth!

You might consider drawing up a schedule, and specifying times when the TV is unplugged for the duration.


In that perfect world, the ebook would magically be erased from your system when you passed it on. With a pbook, there's only one copy, and if you pass it along, you no longer have it. DRM is intended to address the fact that it isn't that way with ebooks.
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I never thought of it that way. I guess in such a situation where an ebook was copied to someone instead of physically handed to someone else, it would be possible for a single buyer to make a negative impact on sales. Much to consider here.
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Old 10-20-2008, 12:37 PM   #20
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I never thought of it that way. I guess in such a situation where an ebook was copied to someone instead of physically handed to someone else, it would be possible for a single buyer to make a negative impact on sales. Much to consider here.
That's what the people imposing DRM are afraid of, at least. I'm not so sure it's the case, and that pass along copy might just boost sales of other books by that author, because the person you hand it to likes the book and goes looking for more books by that author. That's the Baen Free Library model, and it's worked well for them.

I think a lot of the impulse towards DRM is based on underlying assumptions about the market. If you assume the majority of folks who might buy your stuff are no-good so-and-so's who will cheerfully steal it if they get a chance, you feel Measures Must Be Taken, and look at DRM solutions. If you assume the majority of the market will pay for value, you think about how to provide value and how to price for the value you provide. You'll get some theft, but you'll always get some theft. The question is whether draconian measures are needed to stop it.

I'm always tempted to ask the "they're all no-good so-and-sos who will try to rip me off" crowd "Why do you assume that? Is it because it's what you would do, and you think everyone else is just like you?"
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Old 10-20-2008, 12:56 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by DixieGal View Post
I never thought of it that way. I guess in such a situation where an ebook was copied to someone instead of physically handed to someone else, it would be possible for a single buyer to make a negative impact on sales. Much to consider here.
Most DRM schemes allow limited "sharing" of books. For example, I have a friend who also has a CyBook and there are several DRM-protected Mobi books that I've quite legitimately shared with her by encoding the book with her Gen3's ID, and she's done the same for me.
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Old 10-20-2008, 01:00 PM   #22
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Don't forget Sturgeon's Law, which says that "90% of everything is crap". The problem with information found on the web is that it's difficult to assess its accuracy. With a science book from a reputable publisher, you know that the contents of the book will have been peer-reviewed, and will be trustworthy.
Actually Harry a more correct statement would be "the contents of the book should have been peer-reviewed, and should be trustworthy". Sometimes peer review perpetuates universally held beliefs that are in error, e.g. Galileo's "peer" review about the center of the solar system is a classical and well known case. Sometimes the review by established authority is not really peer review.



Another way to look at the DRM situation is, "How much does the DRMing cost - to both the seller and the buyer?" If that cost to the buyer would "statistically" reduce the cost (to the buyer) of the ebook to the point where some percentage of pirates would buy instead of pirating then perhaps more profit would accrue to the seller. Also if the seller is absorbing some of the DRM cost, his profit per sell will increase or the price could be lowered even further resulting (hopefully) in more sells, equating to more profit.
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Old 10-20-2008, 01:12 PM   #23
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Actually Harry a more correct statement would be "the contents of the book should have been peer-reviewed, and should be trustworthy". Sometimes peer review perpetuates universally held beliefs that are in error, e.g. Galileo's "peer" review about the center of the solar system is a classical and well known case. Sometimes the review by established authority is not really peer review.
Let me re-phrase it, then: if you buy a textbook from a reputable publisher, you will be be presented with information which is in accordance with generally-accepted theories. Whether those theories are "true" or not is a matter for philosophical discussion .

Like Dennis, some of the "facts" I see presented on the web make me cringe. It's fine to hold unorthodox views, but I think that it's unethical to pretend that those views are "mainstream".
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Old 10-20-2008, 01:16 PM   #24
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I didn't vote... mainly because the issue of "reducing" and "removing" piracy seems to be used interchangeably here. Obviously reducing is not removing... and whereas any amount of mitigation of piracy constitutes "reduction," the possibility of "removal" is, for all practical purposes, impossible.

Anyway, I don't see "promoting e-books" and "reducing piracy" to be mutually exclusive... both could conceivably be accomplished with the same steps (an account setup, for instance, that provides extra benefits to the user and so discourages piracy).

My opinion: More work needs to be done on both fronts, mainly in educating the public in what is out there, and how it benefits them to buy as opposed to pirating (not to mention actually providing those benefits).
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Old 10-20-2008, 01:23 PM   #25
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What the DRM can technically allow, and what your licence to the books allows may be different. Fictionwise does not allow you to share DRMed books with friends, even though you can do it technically by entering their PID into your account.

http://www.fictionwise.com/help/eBook_FAQ.htm

Q: Am I allowed to email an eBook to a friend?
A: Sorry, that is not allowed by law. These stories are copyrighted. If you email a file to a friend, you are making a copy of it. You would be committing a crime. The file is licensed to you and you alone. It's not like a physical book that you can loan to a friend. When you purchase and download an eBook from Fictionwise.com, you alone are authorized to read it. You can download it onto multiple devices, for example a Palm and also your home PC. That's allowed by your personal license. But you cannot send copies to any other person. Besides being illegal, making an unauthorized copy of a work deprives the author of their fair royalty, and makes it harder for us to acquire more content in the future. If we catch a violator, we will prosecute him or her to the fullest extent of the law, which can include heavy fines and even imprisonment. So please don't do it. We charge reasonable prices, don't steal from us and our authors.

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Most DRM schemes allow limited "sharing" of books. For example, I have a friend who also has a CyBook and there are several DRM-protected Mobi books that I've quite legitimately shared with her by encoding the book with her Gen3's ID, and she's done the same for me.
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Old 10-20-2008, 01:31 PM   #26
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Ouch! That strikes me as a completely unreasonable restriction, meaning that you're breaking the terms of the licence agreement if, say, you let your partner or children living in the same house read a book that you've bought, even if on your device.
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Old 10-20-2008, 01:33 PM   #27
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Quote:
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I never thought of it that way. I guess in such a situation where an ebook was copied to someone instead of physically handed to someone else, it would be possible for a single buyer to make a negative impact on sales. Much to consider here.
Perhaps, but provided the original buyer of the work, or anyone who received it, did not violate legitimate fair use of the work, it really makes no difference that the original copy exists.

Yes, giving an electronic copy to a friend might impact potential sales, but then again, so can loaning a book. I can pretty much assure you, that far more people have read Harry Potter than have actually purchased a new copy of the book. Many people borrow from libraries and friends; they buy used, etc. There are a number of different types of readers out there; only a relatively small set of them are habitual collectors (i.e., they buy and keep most of what they read). Every person who buys and then resells, or gives, or lends their books out ultimately impacts the bottom line. That being said, that is part of fair use.

DRM, ultimately limits the ability of people to make legitimate fair use of their books. Lets say a book is available only on Kindle. Well, I can't buy the book because Amazon only sells to Kindle owners (imagine if Sony only allowed you to play Sony CD's on Sony players?). But lets say, I do have a Kindle, download the book and then my Kindle breaks. I haven't read the book yet, but I would like to. I still own it; its still sitting on my computer. If it has DRM, my only option is to buy another Kindle, even though by the time this happens, there might be eBook readers I like quite a bit more. In a world without DRM, I could format shift the book (which is covered under fair use) to work with any other device I might like.

Ultimately, I am far more convinced that DRM is about limiting fair use far more than it is about limiting piracy.

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Old 10-20-2008, 01:38 PM   #28
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Oh, I quite agree. It is completely unreasonable. And so I ignore it when it comes to my immediate family.

But it is there. And I think many eBook stores have similar conditions in the small print.

Paul

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Ouch! That strikes me as a completely unreasonable restriction, meaning that you're breaking the terms of the licence agreement if, say, you let your partner or children living in the same house read a book that you've bought, even if on your device.
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Old 10-20-2008, 01:47 PM   #29
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Ouch! That strikes me as a completely unreasonable restriction, meaning that you're breaking the terms of the licence agreement if, say, you let your partner or children living in the same house read a book that you've bought, even if on your device.
You are not breaking it if it is "fair use" or similar. As it is in most countries to make a copy for family members. And since the DRM allows it you are not circumventing the DRM.
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Old 10-20-2008, 01:50 PM   #30
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For once, Tommy, we are in agreement .
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