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AG & e-books
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Tito



Joined: 30 Mar 2004
Posts: 1203
Location: is everything
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buh-bye.

Last edited by Tito on Tue Jul 06, 2010 2:13 pm; edited 1 time in total

Post Tue Jun 29, 2010 1:30 pm   View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Lauren



Joined: 07 Mar 2004
Posts: 1582
Location: Massachusetts
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Tito wrote:
Piracy is bad. Never stated otherwise.


Oh god, I know you didn't, and I didn't mean to imply otherwise! I just tend to get all soap-boxy when I go on publishing rants. Smile

Tito wrote:
But I question how much of an effect it has on potential sales. Serious question, I don't know the answer and want to learn:

Kid with a 10 dollar a week allowance. He can either buy 10 songs on iTunes or download 1000 illegally. He downloads 1000 and spends the 10 on crack. He's that kind of kid. Ok. He couldn't afford 990 of those songs and wouldn't have been able to buy them anyway. He still stole 1000 dollars worth of goods (and should be prosecuted like the common thief he is). But did he collectively deprive the artists of 10 dollars or 1000 dollars? Are they 10 dollars poorer or 1000 poorer? This isn't meant to be a moral question, it's more like accounting. Does his downloading songs he never could have bought anyway affect the artists living any more than the 10 dollars he could have bought? Again, an accounting question. And yes, throw him in jail, he's a thief. I get that.


I'm neither accountant nor econmist, but I'm going to go with $1000.

Put it in terms of real world stuff.

Same kid can either but 10 candy bars or stuff the whole box of 50 them in his backpack --it's easier to snatch the whole bulk box off the shelf rather than have 10 loose candy bars rustling around and being all conspicuously lumpy as he tries to sneak out the door. He stuffs the box in his backpack and spends the 10 on crack, because he's still that kind of kid.

He couldn't have afforded the extra 40. They still count as stolen, though, right? And the store still loses out on the cost of all 50 candy bars.

There's a lot to unpack when it comes to pirating books and music. I don't think it can ever be quite that black and white. Like, for every kid who can't afford the music, there's also the handful who damned well can, they just don't feel like they should have to pay for it.

And there's the argument that with music, people who pirate stuff will come to concerts and spend money on tee shirts and other things, or pay for extra content that gets released. A few bands have done free releases. Nine Inch Nails is one. I think Pearl Jam did something a while back, where they had the album available for free download for a week, then took it offline when it came out in stores? Someone else -- Radiohead (at least, I think it was Radiohead. I'm so not savvy about happenings in the music world. Someone correct me if I'm wrong) did this thing where you could kick in whatever you felt like the album was worth, or whatever you could afford to pay for it. I don't know how much money they made; I'm also pretty sure it got pirated right quick.

Writers have had some success with releasing books for free, too. Cory Doctorow stated that his problem "isn't piracy, it's obscurity." He released Little Brother for free -- you can still download it. It still hit the bestseller list, even though it was available for download for at least a month before it hit bookstore shelves. (Cory Doctorow, of course, has an advantage in that he has a huge platform already, what with running BoingBoing and all.)

There's the Baen Free Library, which has been around for a long time now. The idea is, you go in, download some books, and if you like them, maybe you'll buy the author's new stuff as it comes out. But they take the very real gamble that maybe you won't spend any money, either.

I guess the big difference between downloading books from Cory Doctorow and the Baen Free Library and someone yanking them off of BitTorrent or wherever is that in the first case, the authors gave their permission for the books to be available for free download. In the latter, they didn't.
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Post Tue Jun 29, 2010 2:03 pm   View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website AIM Address ICQ Number
Tito



Joined: 30 Mar 2004
Posts: 1203
Location: is everything
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buh-bye.

Last edited by Tito on Tue Jul 06, 2010 2:14 pm; edited 1 time in total

Post Tue Jun 29, 2010 2:14 pm   View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
mxlemore



Joined: 18 Sep 2008
Posts: 44
Location: Georgia
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chris wrote:

Exactly. Acting like people won't pirate books to rationalize your own convenience is disingenuous. I'm not saying for a second that it can be stopped, but let's not pretend it's not going to happen, and it's not going to
affect the artist. And the "everyone will have a chance now" argument denies all those people in the middle, who are barely making it as authors now. They are back to waiting tables or selling cars. If it was me, I'd give up. Writing is too fucking hard and takes too long to learn to not have the hope of making a living at it.

There will be a shitload of noobs, and the amount of crap you are going to have to wade through to find something good, well, good luck with that. Doubt it? Wade through the garage bands on MySpace to find what you want to listen to. Oh, and in five years, go back and see if they have a second record? A third?

It's going to happen, I have no doubt about it. But it's going to kill the novel as we know it. Like I said before, it's probably time. It was probably not very pleasant to be in the buggy whip business the first time a Ford came down the street, or in gas lamp business when the cities got wired for electricity.

Already for every writing student who wants to write novels, there are six who want to write screenplays, or make movies, or have no sense whatsoever of what story-telling is. No one is going to want to write a book writing a book isn't a thing you do. You know, like learning blacksmithing.

Neal Stephenson told me that he thought we might have to go work at Burgerking for a few years until people got tired of reading the crap that e-books would allow. (Nearly his exact words.) I'm hoping he's right, and we only have to go do that for a few years.

Oh well. It's been a great run for me.


Stop it, Chris. You're scaring the hell outta me! It looks like I'm already doomed before I've gotten started good.
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Hush, Hush, My Love is now available for Kindle, Nook, and other formats from Smashwords for free! You can view it here: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/50564

Post Tue Jun 29, 2010 2:21 pm   View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
JustAGirl



Joined: 05 Jan 2008
Posts: 2230
Location: North Carolina
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Crap... I'm tempted to send my new Nook back to Barnes & Noble.
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Post Tue Jun 29, 2010 2:35 pm   View user's profile Send private message
Tito



Joined: 30 Mar 2004
Posts: 1203
Location: is everything
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buh-bye.

Last edited by Tito on Tue Jul 06, 2010 2:14 pm; edited 1 time in total

Post Tue Jun 29, 2010 2:45 pm   View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
simba major



Joined: 29 Apr 2010
Posts: 626
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Kar98 wrote:
simba major wrote:

Beethoven, if he had enjoyed modern copyright protection could have lived solely from his composition - which means that we would probably have a lot more of his compositions than we do now, and that would be sweet. As it is, he had to give lessons to supplement his income, time that he could have spent composing.

Bach was, for a significant portion of his career, a church musician, and had to teach Latin to schoolboys. He had endless fights with the town council, which ran the school, including a sword fight because some idiot called him a hund's fut - my spelling might be off, but I think you can imagine the translation. They drove him crazy.

And it was all because there was no effective copyright protection.


Uh, you're babbling nonsense as you understand it. How would copyright protection have increased the income of these people?


Beethoven, for instance, was concerned that his work was being published in pirated form, and not in some back street, either. Reputable publishers in London, for instance, were openly publishing his sonatas and giving him nary a cent because there was no copyright protection.

How's that for babbling nonsense as I understand it.

Quote:
Did copyright infringement take any income away from them?



See above.

Quote:
Bach was given his post of cantor of St. Thomas, which he held for 27 years, to give him a secure income and ENABLE him to compose without having to worry about financial matters. A thousand "thaler" a year was like half a million bucks nowadays.


I'd love to see a source for that.
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Post Tue Jun 29, 2010 3:01 pm   View user's profile Send private message
Boota



Joined: 09 Apr 2004
Posts: 830
Location: Kokomo, Indiana
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Tito wrote:


I think the comparison to physical theft breaks down because when you steal a candy bar, the store loses both the profit margin and the cost of the bar. When you pirate the song, you lose the depreciated cost of producing the song. Maybe. I guess my point in the question is more, when quoting the loss due to piracy, is it really that big? In other words, does one pirated song equal and offset one purchased song? I don't think so. There's a lot of thievery out there, but I think the people who would normally purchase a song still purchase it and for those that don't it's more a crime of opportunity.

The implications of all this digital piracy talk is of course internet freedom and anonymity. Piracy could easily be crushed but we would lose much of the privacy we now "enjoy" on the internet. Are we willing to give that up for an "enforceable copyright?"


So the artist doesn't fit in to who loses in your vision? You acknowledge the store and the manufactured item missing from a physical shoplifting, and that sucks. In piracy, however, hours of hard work and whatever money was invested in the making of the work are just gone. Not everyone steals. I get that. But ALMOST everyone steals. Speaking as an artist who has personally had several thousand dollars worth of my time, money, and copyrighted material stolen, I cannot hold the same values you do. I feel that my work has value and I deserve to be compensated by those who would have it. If it's not worth it, just pass on by and ignore it.

One pirated item doesn't hit so hard against one purchased item. But we're not talking one for one. We're talking, in some cases, millions of stolen copies versus one purchased copy. If you think that's fair hand over 90% of your paycheck to a stranger. See how it feels.
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Post Tue Jun 29, 2010 3:13 pm   View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Tito



Joined: 30 Mar 2004
Posts: 1203
Location: is everything
 Reply with quote  

buh-bye.

Last edited by Tito on Tue Jul 06, 2010 2:14 pm; edited 1 time in total

Post Tue Jun 29, 2010 3:50 pm   View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Boota



Joined: 09 Apr 2004
Posts: 830
Location: Kokomo, Indiana
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Let's not limit it to board members, and then see where the percentage lies. I believe that most people steal via downloading. I never have and never would, and there are people like me. But in this day and age you are almost laughed at in most circles if you actually pay for something you could download for free. And it's not going to get better. I bought a DVD set the other day and a friend said I was dumb for paying for it. He'd already downloaded the whole thing and would have given me a copy. When I said that I wanted to pay for it he gave me a look as if to say, "Oh, how quaint. Someone who still pays for DVD's."

I would give up some of the privacy and anonymity on the internet if that was the ticket that would stop piracy. And the punishment I would give to pirates would be way harsher than any court would allow. I'm thinking death by rhinoceros sodomy. Maybe a grace period where everyone can get their ducks in a row and then on one magical day... blammo! Rhino rape.

Even if all piracy is halted, though, it still doesn't help with the crap factor. Say you make $2,000 a week for being really good at your job. But then a new directive comes down and they say, "We're still paying $2,000 a week in payroll, but we're going to hire 1,999 more people and pay each of you a dollar." How many of those people are going to be as good as you? Ten? Five? Any? But now there is at least 1,990 people out there doing what you do and eating up your rightful piece of the pie, while disappointing the clients with shoddy work. It's all going to be marketed as if every piece is as good as the next, but we all know that isn't true. How many pieces do you have to buy before you find a good one? How many bad ones before you give up?
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Post Tue Jun 29, 2010 4:56 pm   View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Tito



Joined: 30 Mar 2004
Posts: 1203
Location: is everything
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buh-bye.

Last edited by Tito on Tue Jul 06, 2010 2:14 pm; edited 1 time in total

Post Tue Jun 29, 2010 5:09 pm   View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Lauren



Joined: 07 Mar 2004
Posts: 1582
Location: Massachusetts
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Tito wrote:
Does every pirated song mean one lost sale? In other words, 2,000,000 pirated songs does not necessarily equate to 2,000,000 songs that would otherwise be purchased.


I think this is where part of the difference in thinking is happening. To me (and I'm presuming to Boota), it doesn't matter if someone choses to pirate a song so they can spend their disposable income on ale & whores instead of buying an album, or whether they didn't have the money to spend on it in the first place.

In either situation, they acquired something for their entertainment that they didn't pay for.

I think I understand the question you're asking, Tito, and I'm trying to think of a way to reword it. How's this:

There's this writer who tells some really amazing stories. However, after I read his first few books, I learned about some hateful, horrible statements he's made. Nowadays, I wouldn't want to give him a single penny. If I have no intention of purchasing his new book, but I go ahead and pirate a copy because I've heard it's good, can he count that as a lost sale?

I have to say yes, he can.

If I'm not willing to spend the money on it, I shouldn't have it in the first place. It doesn't matter what my reasons are for not acquiring it through legal means.

Quote:
I'm questioning the accounting. Another difference between the physical and the digital is that the stolen candy bar cannot be sold to another customer whereas the digital song can. If you could magically stop piracy right now, I doubt that you would see a commensurate increase in sales and, unlike the candy bar, you have unlimited inventory.


You're very likely right that there wouldn't be a super-huge increase in sales if you eliminated piracy. But even if there were a moderate one, it'd be good to have those extra sales go into the artists' pockets, and there wouldn't be people listening to their music/reading their books without paying for it.

Quote:
The other part of my post addressed the root causes of piracy (beyond dishonesty) - which is the freedom and anonymity of the internet. You ok with reducing that?


I like my internet anonymity, not that I really use it for anything juicy. I believe everyone has a right to privacy online. But, I also believe creators have a right to get paid for their work. I'm not sure where the resolution for those two statements lies. (You should hear my internal monologue when I start thinking about it. There are fist fights in my head. )
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Well, I guess you left me with some feathers in my hand.

Post Tue Jun 29, 2010 5:51 pm   View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website AIM Address ICQ Number
Tito



Joined: 30 Mar 2004
Posts: 1203
Location: is everything
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buh-bye.

Last edited by Tito on Tue Jul 06, 2010 2:15 pm; edited 1 time in total

Post Tue Jun 29, 2010 6:22 pm   View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Tito



Joined: 30 Mar 2004
Posts: 1203
Location: is everything
 Reply with quote  

buh-bye.

Last edited by Tito on Tue Jul 06, 2010 2:15 pm; edited 1 time in total

Post Tue Jun 29, 2010 7:04 pm   View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Boota



Joined: 09 Apr 2004
Posts: 830
Location: Kokomo, Indiana
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Tito, I have no idea if we're even on iTunes anymore. I had so much stuff stolen I gave up even paying attention to it. I know I got a check for five downloads from one site and never got another dime from a download, even though I found stuff all over the file sharing sites. Made me feel pretty good about spending a few thousand dollars of my own money so that people who don't value what I do could rob me. I really liked the guy who sent me an email saying how much he loved our CD Disasterpiece Theatre. He bragged that he downloaded it off of a file sharing site. I said, "Glad you like it. But why didn't you buy a copy?" He informed me that "The music should be free, man."

If we're out there anywhere the band is called Fetish. Maybe CD Baby.

As far giving up, I've pretty much done that. I still write and record, but strictly for my own enjoyment. It costs money to release this stuff and I just can't afford to give away what little money I have. I still make money on my books and they still sell pretty well, so I'll probably publish more of my writing, but if that goes the way I see it going I'll be giving that up as well. I can't justify the amount of work, forget about the money, that is required to do this without being compensated for it.
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Post Tue Jun 29, 2010 7:59 pm   View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
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