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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 10-21-2008, 02:27 AM   #46
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I chose profit because...

I tend to think that the more profit the more content available for me.
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I prefer not to steal anyone's hard work. I buy what I read. In a perfect world there wouldn't be people who think they are entitled to have for free what someone else has worked on...

The fact is, I like my authors, I'd like them to keep providing me with entertaining reads, by purchasing their work, I participate in their ability to do so.
Would I prefer to see more realistic prices on e-books? Of course, but that doesn't mean I'm going to steal their work. It just means that for some authors I don't read them as much or as often as I would if the prices were more reasonable.

I don't take into account the "industry" because that's just a cop out. I pay for my food, my gas and my housing... if I don't like the prices at this store, I shop elsewhere, I'll drive down the block or over into the next town to buy my gas, I pay my mortgage because I like my house and living where I do.
Why would I think my entertainment is any different?
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Old 10-21-2008, 05:37 AM   #47
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I don't take into account the "industry" because that's just a cop out. I pay for my food, my gas and my housing... if I don't like the prices at this store, I shop elsewhere, I'll drive down the block or over into the next town to buy my gas, I pay my mortgage because I like my house and living where I do.
Why would I think my entertainment is any different?
Because entertainment unit A cannot be replaced by entertainment unit B so there is often no other shop. Also the way copyright works prohibit the appearance of alternative. So we get situations were an ebook is not available. So the markets works very differently.
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Old 10-21-2008, 09:03 AM   #48
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However, e-books, like all forms of entertainment, aren't mandatory... you won't die without them, and they don't keep a roof over your head, feed you, or get you to work. The market may be different, but you are free to walk away, you are not conscripted to buy something you don't want. So, if they are not reasonably priced and packaged for you, your job is to leave them alone and find something else to do.

I buy e-books. But I buy e-books the way I want them, that is, in a form that assures me I can read it for as long as I want to. If a book is not so packaged, I don't buy it. If a book is so packaged, but too high-priced for me, I don't buy it. And I don't go looking for pirated copies, either.

This means that I buy very few e-books. But I do buy. And if producers want me to buy more, they know what they have to do to make that happen.

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If a product is easy to use and reasonably priced people will buy it even if they could pirate it.
Exactly right.
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Old 10-21-2008, 09:45 AM   #49
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Just a thought; yes for the most part we are not required to buy books. That being said, there are times when we are in fact required to buy. Sure at the moment, it is normally only paper books for classes and the like. In the future though, as ebooks gain more mainstream acceptance, people will be required to use ebooks for classes and the like. In some cases this will be great; PG books as opposed to the $7-8 for the paper copy is just plain smart. On the other hand, as expensive text books start migrating over, I can see some nasty use of DRM developing. Imagine them licensing the books for the semester... the student can use it during his class but can't sell it afterwards and can't even use it later.

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Old 10-21-2008, 10:50 AM   #50
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Imagine them licensing the books for the semester... the student can use it during his class but can't sell it afterwards and can't even use it later.
I realize students have come to rely on the ability to make a few books by selling their textbooks after the semester. I consider that an aberration of the current system... it's certainly not something the text publishers want to encourage... but at any rate, as texts migrate from physical to electronic media, this will simply not be an option in the future.

I think it would be a better idea for students to want to keep their texts after the semester is over, for future reference (a much easier task when they are electronic). I still have a number of my old textbooks. But I understand that this doesn't apply to all of the texts you've ever gotten.

Hopefully students will be able to obtain texts for less once they are electronic, but as others have pointed out, the economy of educational texts isn't great, and prices are not likely to come down by much. And reselling is just plain unlikely to happen. So, to those who enjoy buying and selling used texts, I can only say: Enjoy it while you can, those days are probably numbered. (And the way the educational industry is dragging its feet, take solace in the fact that that number is probably large.)

Last edited by Steven Lyle Jordan; 10-21-2008 at 10:52 AM.
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Old 10-21-2008, 12:09 PM   #51
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I realize students have come to rely on the ability to make a few books by selling their textbooks after the semester. I consider that an aberration of the current system... it's certainly not something the text publishers want to encourage... but at any rate, as texts migrate from physical to electronic media, this will simply not be an option in the future.
Steve, with respect, the ability to resell a book you have purchased is not an "abberation" of the current system; rather it is a fundamental example of fair use. Whether the publishers want to encourage the system or not is irrelevant to the situation. In fact we know they do not, and we know they are trying to build DRM schemes that prevent many types fair use of electronic media.

Further, with respect to your claims that it will not be an option in the future, I think the real question is whether it will be a legal option in the future. It is a simple fact that no DRM scheme is unbreakable (since the user has by definition access to both the clear text and the key). The ultimate question is whether or not students can sell each other unique copies of electronic text books or do they go underground and buy pirated copies?

Quote:
I think it would be a better idea for students to want to keep their texts after the semester is over, for future reference (a much easier task when they are electronic). I still have a number of my old textbooks. But I understand that this doesn't apply to all of the texts you've ever gotten.
Actually, I would say that most of the text books I ever kept quickly became dated and were effectively useless within 5 years. Even when they didn't become dated, they often were arcane and specialized in such a way that they had little utility outside the class they were used for (never found much use for finite automata for example).

Quote:
Hopefully students will be able to obtain texts for less once they are electronic, but as others have pointed out, the economy of educational texts isn't great, and prices are not likely to come down by much. And reselling is just plain unlikely to happen. So, to those who enjoy buying and selling used texts, I can only say: Enjoy it while you can, those days are probably numbered. (And the way the educational industry is dragging its feet, take solace in the fact that that number is probably large.)
Actually, ultimately, if I were to support a DRM scheme, it would have to be one that was adaptable to allow users to exercise their fair rights. All in all, it should not be that difficult to set up a DRM scheme that allowed works to be transferred to others in a fashion that would allow lending, would allow selling and would not ultimately violate the privacy of the users involved. Unfortunately, the publishers have zero motivation to develop such a system. If they don't though, they simply encourage the development of an underground where people download their textbooks (and other books) from torrents.

I will grant that this is slightly a moderation of my earlier position on DRM. But the more I think about it, the more I think it should be possible to set up a DRM that protects fair use, privacy and at the same time discourages casual copying. Nothing will stop dedicated pirates, but a system of standards needs to be put in place to ensure that ordinary readers don't need to become pirates just to exercise their fair use.

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Old 10-21-2008, 12:58 PM   #52
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There'll always be ways to copy books in a non legal way; even if it's a $200 black box you buy where you input an encoded book, and it outputs an unencoded version; or just a device that is able to break DRM's by changing it's internal mac adress or some smart things like that!

Maybe it's a device that has no mac adress, that whenever you get to view a book on one device, you'll be able to see it on all devices?
I don't know.
But for the commoner, yes, I fear DRM might go into licencing books on a time base; though not sure how they are going to be able to get that to work..
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Old 10-21-2008, 01:03 PM   #53
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Are you kidding ProDigit? That one will be trivial. You could simply set up the reading software to check the time on the device, and then ensure that the device has to synch its clock with a central server. Sure you might be able to game the system for a bit, but as soon as you connect to the internet, it checks the time, and if you lease on the material has expired, the material is deleted from your readers. At the very least, it will prevent the readers from reading expired material (if you still have a copy, you could deDRM it, but we are assuming people are going to stay legal).

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Old 10-21-2008, 01:15 PM   #54
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Steve, with respect, the ability to resell a book you have purchased is not an "abberation" of the current system; rather it is a fundamental example of fair use.
I've never considered the used book market to be the same as the "fair use" system... one allows a product to be resold by third parties, there is profit involved, while the other is basically a "free pass-along" system... but I know what you mean.

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Further, with respect to your claims that it will not be an option in the future, I think the real question is whether it will be a legal option in the future. It is a simple fact that no DRM scheme is unbreakable (since the user has by definition access to both the clear text and the key). The ultimate question is whether or not students can sell each other unique copies of electronic text books or do they go underground and buy pirated copies?
I think the real question is: Given how easy it will be to pass on old e-texts, and how easy it is for publishers to generate new e-texts, what will keep the publishers from simply creating a "new" text every year, thereby invalidating the last one? I suspect that is the real danger, planned yearly obsolescence, that will rob the student of the worth of reselling.

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All in all, it should not be that difficult to set up a DRM scheme that allowed works to be transferred to others in a fashion that would allow lending, would allow selling and would not ultimately violate the privacy of the users involved.
The part about reselling is the only part I personally have doubts about... like it or not, the ability to resell electronic files may simply not be in the cards in the future. I reiterate that e-books have more in common with broadcast media than with physical products, and in the same way that you are not allowed to record and resell a TV show to a third party, someday e-books may carry the same restriction. (TV shows tied to a physical media, like a DVD, can be resold of course, but recordings and copies are illegal to resell. Tying an e-book to a physical media would seem ludicrous... but without the physical media to tie it to, reselling options may eventually be deemed illegal. Maybe a proof-of-ownership "dongle," or a copy-disabled flash drive holding the e-book, would be required...)

This is assuming the parties involved don't get off their collective a$$e$ and work out a new media definition for e-books that allows them to figure out a unique and workable method of sales, resales and fair use. If they don't, they will eventually pick the best approximation that will satisfy their needs, and I suspect broadcast media definitions would ultimately be their choice.

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Old 10-21-2008, 09:01 PM   #55
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Because entertainment unit A cannot be replaced by entertainment unit B so there is often no other shop. Also the way copyright works prohibit the appearance of alternative. So we get situations were an ebook is not available. So the markets works very differently.
Not necessarily, because I can rent it for free from the library or buy it cheaper in paperback.... I love to read, but having an e-book/electronic book is not a necessity... it is a desire, and when all comes out right (format, price, availability) it shows up on my device.

Having had my own work stolen and profited from by others and having had it denigrated by an evil, unhappy .... (well, I probably can't use the proper word here, but sounds like...itch) woman with a lack of personal talent and a deep seated need to make her stupid* students as unhappy as she... I can tell you that I hold writers that Can write in the highest of esteem. I won't steal their work.

*stupid in the way of accepting that she must be right.... and allowing her to continue to spread her poison.

I do believe that if a method of stopping piracy isn't developed, the rest of us will pay dearly... whether on a per read/time based/whatever else they can come up with method, and that will really ruin it all. I'd rather they see heaping big profits (since that is all big business thinks of) and decide they're happy with how it is panning out.
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Old 10-22-2008, 01:41 AM   #56
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i work with subscription websites. there's a lot harder numbers there. a LOT of people try to pass around site logins - probably as many as buy memberships. but here's the thing - most of those people talk on boards and they pride themselves on not joining sites. they are not just average guys - they are dedicated to free stuff.

2 very large sites i work with removed their DRM due to complaints from their members and affiliates and their sales and retention went up - a lot. they not only made more money but now regular guys who have been members speak highly of them, sending even more members. sure, there are still those jerks on the password trading boards, but there are programs to keep them out and other than having those sites taken down whenever they pop up, it makes more sense to make more money.

another thing about DRM - it doesn't work. there are ways to remove DRM on almost anything. there are sites out there full of videos that were DRMed and now play freely. those pirates used to just put a quality camcorder on a tripod in front of a large monitor and record the videos, but now there are programs to do it that can be found with a little work.

then there's people like a lot of the folks here. we'd pay for it either way - DRM or no DRM. but we'd feel better about it without. we wouldn't have to worry about what would happen if a store had connectivity problems or went out of business. so we'd probably buy more.
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Old 10-22-2008, 01:50 AM   #57
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In a way DRM is like communism, isn't it?
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Old 10-22-2008, 02:53 AM   #58
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In a way DRM is like communism, isn't it?
In what way? Communism is a form of democracy - everyone working for the common good. I entirely fail to see how DRM is like that .
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Old 10-22-2008, 06:23 AM   #59
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In what way? Communism is a form of democracy - everyone working for the common good. I entirely fail to see how DRM is like that .
DRM is nothing like true communism - but it is much like the behavior of many governments which have self-identified as communist.
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Old 10-22-2008, 08:43 AM   #60
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In a way DRM is like communism, isn't it?
Actually, it's more like Capitalism: Taking effort to ensure that every product out there is bought and paid for.
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