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Old 12-27-2007, 05:34 AM   #16
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By the time you buy it, that first print run is bought and paid for, and they have the books on inventory. They buy what they are sure they will sell, and if someone steals or borrows or checks out a book, that doesn't take food out of their mouths...they will just sell the book they have to someone else.
I'm not sure what you're saying here, but you also have to take into account that a publisher generally operates entirely on speculation. They get the manuscript of an author, think long and hard about it, and decide they might make money with it. They then spend quite an amount of money: the author's advance, editing, typesetting, cover designing, getting the required permissions, the initial print run, paying their agents who pitch the books to the bricks-and-mortar stores, etc. In all, I think it's not unreasonable to figure that it'll cost the publisher $25K to get the first 5000 books out in the stores.

Even if all of these are sold (at a cover price of, say, $15), they receive 5000x(0.45 x $15) = $33750. That seems like a nice profit. But if the book doesn't sell as well as they hoped, the book stores will simply return them (probably in such a state that they aren't resellable). The publisher will try to remainder them in the hopes of recouping some of the costs.

In short: it's the publisher who takes all the risk. The author's advance is already paid, editors, typesetters etc. simply get paid for the hours spent on the book, and the printer certainly expects to get paid for what he printed, not for what the publisher was able to sell.

So to say that any book is "already bought and paid for" once it's on the shelves is a little unfair to the publishers.

I keep seeing names such as Stephen King or Tom Clancy popping up in these threads. Of course, a publisher hopes that the next King, Clancy, or Brown signs up with them. Once the initial costs are recouped, the money starts rolling in.

But it's not for nothing that new authors have such a hard time getting published. The publisher needs to take quite a financial risk putting this new author on the shelves, and I'm certain there are publishers who'd much rather operate entirely on backlist ("classics", so to speak) because that's a much less risky operation.
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Old 12-27-2007, 09:16 AM   #17
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You are blaming LIBRARIES for contributing to piracy?
No, he suggested a reason why people see little wrong with taking an ebook. He was not talking about distributing books. In these kind of discussion it would be good if these two cases were treated seperately.
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Old 12-27-2007, 09:21 AM   #18
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I really do have to take issue with both those statements, Derek.

1. There are numerous eBooks available for around the US$5 price point, which I believe would be a fair price from virtually anyone's viewpoint (Lauzon excluded, of course). Baen charge US$5 for their individual books, and Fictionwise charge around that for many of their "Multiformat" books.

Does that stop these books being reposted on the Usenet eBook groups and BitTorrent sites? No, it doesn't. Some people are just thieves, full stop.
You should not make blanket legal statements (calling people thieves).

The interesting fact here is not how much books are distributed but how much less books are bought. People request books at secondhand bookshops and they get the books there without the publishes getting any money but I do not see any complaints about that.
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Old 12-27-2007, 09:38 AM   #19
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You should not make blanket legal statements (calling people thieves).
Whatever the law chooses to call it, I call people who post commercial eBooks to Usenet newsgroups thieves. They are criminal scum who should be prosecuted with the full force of the law, IMHO.
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Old 12-27-2007, 09:44 AM   #20
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Whatever the law chooses to call it, I call people who post commercial eBooks to Usenet newsgroups thieves. They are criminal scum who should be prosecuted with the full force of the law, IMHO.
So your principle about not making blanket legal statement does not apply to yourself? Theft is a legela concept and when you associate theft with an action by calling people doing this action for thieves you make a blanket legal statement. A aggree with your point that people should not make blanket legal stament.
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Old 12-27-2007, 09:58 AM   #21
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I'm afraid you've entirely lost me, Tommy. Someone who uploads commercial books to usenet newsgroups is a criminal. That is a true statement, so yes, it is a "blanket statement" because it's true. I don't give a damn whether the law chooses to call it "theft" or "copyright infringement". To my mind, it's all theft - taking someone else's property without their permission.
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Old 12-27-2007, 10:00 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by tompe View Post
The interesting fact here is not how much books are distributed but how much less books are bought. People request books at secondhand bookshops and they get the books there without the publishes getting any money but I do not see any complaints about that.
True, but that's not the same issue as posting illegally-obtained e-books on the darknet for people to take for free. Book reselling is allowed by law, the same as reselling almost anything else is. If you want to equate that to the discussion, talk about how we can allow people to resell e-books they've legitimately bought.

Your example would more accurately relate to people who steal books from a bookstore, then resell them at a store.

Harry is specifically talking about people who post other people's works, without permission, on the darknet, which is considered against the law in most countries. He is also talking about people who knowingly take those illegally-obtained works without paying for them... in most countries, the definition of stealing.
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Old 12-27-2007, 10:07 AM   #23
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Harry is specifically talking about people who post other people's works, without permission, on the darknet, which is considered against the law in most countries. He is also talking about people who knowingly take those illegally-obtained works without paying for them... in most countries, the definition of stealing.
I'm actually not so bothered about the downloaders, Steve. Prosecute the uploaders and there's nothing to download. I don't care about 14 year old kids who download the occasional book or music track - it's useless and benefits nobody to go after them. It's the people who upload 1000 books or music tracks that are my concern.
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Old 12-27-2007, 10:21 AM   #24
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Sure... but if nobody bothered to download, would the uploaders bother? It takes both sides to support the system. The original issue of the thread is morality, and we need to talk about a culture that encourages people to knowingly download illegal material.
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Old 12-27-2007, 10:50 AM   #25
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I agree entirely, Steve. It's the fact that anyone could not consider it wrong to take someone else's property without paying for it that should be our concern. That indicates to me a serious breakdown of basic morality.
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Old 12-27-2007, 12:08 PM   #26
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I agree entirely, Steve. It's the fact that anyone could not consider it wrong to take someone else's property without paying for it that should be our concern. That indicates to me a serious breakdown of basic morality.
I think the key there is the idea of "intellectual" property. There are those who have participated in the other piracy discussions who don't see why there should be protections for IP... "If you want to keep it for yourself, don't tell anyone," or comments along that line. In other words, in the case of a book, or any idea, once it's out, it's a free-for-all.

Add to that the idea that "electrons are free," as I said earlier, plus the groupshare culture inspired by YouTube, etc, and you have the current situation.

Personally, I choose to believe that most people do not set out to intentionally hurt others. This is why I think the disconnect is in the (lack of) mutual understanding of the elements involved. For instance:
  1. What is the sanctity of an idea?
  2. Is an idea more or less valid, or protected, depending on the media on which it is recorded?
  3. Are electronic files considered physical things?
  4. Does the unprecedented ease of manipulation, duplication, transmission, etc, of an electronic file equate with its being "essentially worthless"?

Some of these questions seem to run afoul of cultural dissimilarities that are related to their political background... but not all of them.
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Old 12-27-2007, 12:59 PM   #27
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I'm afraid you've entirely lost me, Tommy. Someone who uploads commercial books to usenet newsgroups is a criminal. That is a true statement, so yes, it is a "blanket statement" because it's true. I don't give a damn whether the law chooses to call it "theft" or "copyright infringement". To my mind, it's all theft - taking someone else's property without their permission.
I though you talked about downloaders since you responded to a post that talked about downloading. And you know that in some countries downloading thinkg whatever it is is not illegal. So I saw your statement as a blanket legal statement in the same way that Jon's statement was a blanket legal statement. using theft for things that legally is not theft (if it is copyright infringement) is for me a bad usage and I read it as a guilt by association trick. Like calling taxes theft.
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Old 12-27-2007, 02:02 PM   #28
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I though you talked about downloaders since you responded to a post that talked about downloading. And you know that in some countries downloading thinkg whatever it is is not illegal.
I just want to make sure I understand this, for future reference:

In Sweden, if someone acting without permission of the author/publisher creates an e-book from a printed book that they upload to the darknet, is it legally considered stealing?

In Sweden, if someone downloads a file that has been obtained without permission (whether they know it or not), is it legally considered stealing on the part of the downloader?
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Old 12-27-2007, 02:10 PM   #29
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To my mind, it's all theft - taking someone else's property without their permission.
Perhaps that could provide a clue to the problem.

In English law I believe there has to be an intention to permanently deprive that someone else of that particular property to qualify as theft. (Any attempts to ignore this point will, often rightly, be considered as a form of subterfuge, or disrespect for the law. No, make that 'The Law.' If it is ignored, carrying off someone else's umbrella by mistake will be theft.)

This is a tricky area -- but it does focus the attention on what is really being stolen. And that is *not* the book (or the film, or the music), but the right to decide.

Steal a car -- sure. Steal a book ... except it isn't the book I steal but rather I refuse to accept the author's rights to dispose of that book according to his wishes ... (and that's a can of worms by itself) ... and you can't make a 10 second MTV soundbite out of *that*, and suddenly things start to seem complicated.
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Old 12-27-2007, 02:14 PM   #30
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I
Add to that the idea that "electrons are free," as I said earlier, plus the groupshare culture inspired by YouTube, etc, and you have the current situation.
What about the "Rip, mix, burn" slogan of one of the most admired figures in modern tech. Was that an invitation to "stealing"? If not, why not per arguments above. If yes, well, why blame YouTube??

These discussions quickly become like political arguments with everyone convinced the other side is reaally baad, so I will steer clear of them since they are pointless. In politics elections decide the issues, in these arguments popular opinion will decide...
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