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Author Topic: About digital piracy  (Read 7662 times)

Offline Fallen One

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About digital piracy
« on: September 20, 2012, 06:10:45 PM »

 I recently came across a discussion on twitter because of the following article:

 http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/pirate-party-member-julia-schramm-slammed-for-defending-copyright-a-856977.html

 Apparently, one of the german Pirate Party's most vocal members published a book and tried to remove it from file-sharing sites, causing a massive sh*tstorm in the process.

 What are your thoughts about it? Is piracy really affecting sales, or does it help authors get their books across? If it is affecting sales, what do you think is the solution? Do you think piracy can be altogether elliminated? How can you really measure the damage piracy does to books, videogames, etc. purchases?
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Offline Seven

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Re: About digital piracy
« Reply #1 on: September 20, 2012, 06:33:07 PM »
While I don't agree there is anything wrong with sharing even if it DID affect creators' profits, and therefore have no need to justify myself, here's my situation...

Even before I got my kindle I mostly bought my books pre-owned except new releases I was excited enough about to buy on release day, and I imagine that won't change, so the end result for the writer is no different now that I download instead. The same goes for games, I very very rarely buy new, and even more rarely buy new at full release price. With TV shows and movies, I just plain would not watch anything rather than pay. No amount of money the creators of TV and movies would consider acceptable is small enough to me to be worth a paltry 2 hours of entertainment (if you even are entertained by the movie).

So as someone who reads a lot, watches a lot of TV and movies and plays games occasionally but who exceptionally rarely buys anything new (as in, not pre-owned - and for an idea of how rarely, my last new purchase was Skyrim last November) I am certain I have absolutely no effect on the income of any content producers whatsoever. Caring about me downloading at that point is just petty.

EDIT: forgot to mention, blaming this German girl for the situation seems a bit premature. The article says her PUBLISHER is the one making a fuss about the book being shared, I admit to only skimming but didn't see it say SHE had come out against it.

EDIT2: what an interesting piece of journalism. It was VERY in-depth on Julia's history, personality etc to an extent I haven't seen in English newspapers or websites. Is that usual for German news?
« Last Edit: September 20, 2012, 06:41:38 PM by Seven »

Offline Jian

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Re: About digital piracy
« Reply #2 on: September 20, 2012, 06:48:28 PM »
You know. From knowing a lot of different people (will not divulge any sources) I know for a fact that you can only find the book of an author online if that book is massively successful. Were you to try and look for Prince of Thorns and Control Point, for example, you wouldn't find a single trace of them digitally. While they're doing pretty fine, they're not yet "that" fine. The ones that are getting a tiny bit exploited are already massively successful authors, and even then, their new releases take months to be uploaded digitally, so the readers that read their prior books illegally and loved them quite bit would splurge a bit and purchase the new book at the bookstore.

It's not really a problem until these illegal downloads begin charging people for them and taking the money that the author would have received for themselves. For some reason, it's much more honorable to give the money to the poor from the Sheriff, rather than charge the poor at a cheaper price for something you stole from the Sheriff, and keep it for yourself.

That's my take on it, at least. May be wrong. May not be.
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Offline xiagan

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Re: About digital piracy
« Reply #3 on: September 20, 2012, 06:51:58 PM »
EDIT2: what an interesting piece of journalism. It was VERY in-depth on Julia's history, personality etc to an extent I haven't seen in English newspapers or websites. Is that usual for German news?
Read it and found it not special or very different to other German news, so I suppose the answer is yes.
Of course it's easy to obtain information about Julia Schramm, so it may be a bit more detailed.
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Offline Seven

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Re: About digital piracy
« Reply #4 on: September 20, 2012, 06:52:49 PM »
You know. From knowing a lot of different people (will not divulge any sources) I know for a fact that you can only find the book of an author online if that book is massively successful. Were you to try and look for Prince of Thorns and Control Point
I have the latter one on my Kindle now, unpaid for. While the REALLY obscure stuff is difficult to find I haven't had much trouble with surprisngly not-famous stuff. Never heard of the former, but a quick google search returned a ton of DRM free ebook results in various formats.

That said however, you're right that if people like an author's back catalogue enough, they will usually be happy to pay for their newer stuff if they can afford to, once they've become a fan for free. So the author loses nothing and potentially gains a vocal fan - what's the downside?

Offline Idlewilder

Re: About digital piracy
« Reply #5 on: September 20, 2012, 07:04:57 PM »
So the author loses nothing and potentially gains a vocal fan - what's the downside?

That they don't get paid royalties for their earlier books, go broke and quit writing?
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Offline Seven

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Re: About digital piracy
« Reply #6 on: September 20, 2012, 07:07:47 PM »
So the author loses nothing and potentially gains a vocal fan - what's the downside?

That they don't get paid royalties for their earlier books, go broke and quit writing?
But they were never going to get paid for them anyway. People would buy pre-owned or just not take a chance on this new author they've never read anything by at all.

That isn't really the point anyway. Whether or not the author benefits at all is moot, but they'd probably be much happier if they could try to extract some optimism from the situation, because it isn't going to go away.

Offline Lionwalker

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Re: About digital piracy
« Reply #7 on: September 20, 2012, 07:18:34 PM »
This is exactly the problem. Everyone thinks 'oh, what I do doesn't have any effect on the bigger picture', yet if everyone thinks like this then NO ONE pays, and so the authors stop writing.
You say you aren't going to pay for movies 'that might' entertain you for two hours, and then say you watch a ton of movies and tv series. That is rather hypocritical as you are obviously getting enjoyment out of them.

DO you have a job? Would you work for free? I think not.

And, the comments about it's not like you'd buy the book anyway, are just silly. If the option of getting it free wasn't there I reckon you would buy it, and anyway, that's not the point, it's the wider implications of the idea that stealing books is a victimless crime or harmless, which is just plain wrong. And I struggle to understand how you can smugly say they should be happy just having people read their books. Should you be happy just being allowed to work for someone with no recompense? Do you think you should be paid in smiles and hugs?

And, what do you mean a vocal fan? A fan who got it for free and will now go around telling everyone else what a great book it is and how to get it for free? I'm not quite sure if that's the definition of a fan, more a parasite.
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Offline Idlewilder

Re: About digital piracy
« Reply #8 on: September 20, 2012, 07:20:27 PM »
Lionwalker has put it better than I ever could.
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Offline Lor

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Re: About digital piracy
« Reply #9 on: September 20, 2012, 07:23:30 PM »
[MOD VOICE] We have a very strict policy here of NOT advocating piracy in any shape or form. Especially not when you are using specific examples. Stop now, or face a ban. That means EVERYONE.[/MOD VOICE]
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Offline Nighteyes

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Re: About digital piracy
« Reply #10 on: September 20, 2012, 07:25:38 PM »
I have two points to make here:

1) I actually have nothing against illegally downloading music, films and TV shows, but balk at doing the same for books. Weird huh?  I have a strange moral compass.

2) I have a friend in Indonesia who did me a solid recently, and in pay back he asked me to purchase some books from amazon or barnes and noble and then convert them to EPUB to email to him,  this turned out to be quite tricky due to DRM.  I hate DRM.  If I buy digital content legally I should be able to store it in whatever format I want so I can use it on whatever player or reader I want.  I resent the fact that certain providers make it so you can only use digital content you purchase from them in the player/ reader they produce.  This I think is disgusting.  Luckily I have both soundtaxi for music and calibre for books (with the relevant plugs in) to clean and convert the files to the format I want.  
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Offline Jian

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Re: About digital piracy
« Reply #11 on: September 20, 2012, 07:27:13 PM »
Spoiler for Hiden:
Lion, as a rule of thumb, you'd have to strangle it out of someone that downloaded it illegally. Notice how no one has actually ever started naming sites? That's because those people want to support the author, too. And believe it or not, people do have budgets, man. And re-reading the same books is really quite, well, boring, after awhile. Would you rather us stay the entire day at the bookstore and finish it within three-four visits?

Also, I lived in a country where there was no English television, and we had no DvDs for about 6 years, and books were a commodity, so watching shows and the like online and legally and for free... Well, that really made me sane. Despicable to a lot of you, but I'm sane right now because of it, at least. Plus, if some really like the book, they actually do buy it to support the author. One of my best friends knows how to download everything illegally, but when a new book by Darren Shan comes out, he buys it to support the author. That isn't a parasite; that's a fan. Point is, piracy... Takes time. And if you really liked the previous books, you won't be able to wait. The debut book of an author is generally about 10.90 Euros, but their next book is normally about 18.90 Euros at the local bookstore (in Vienna).

So, let's say the debut book was uploaded illegally, and someone downloaded it. And then, heard he'd have to wait another 6 months when the book was released about a week ago and was sitting at the shelf of his/her bookstore at the price of 18.90 Euros. Boom. Bought it. Author earns more money. OR people manage avoiding wasting a huge sum of money on a debut book they absolutely despised. Just my two cents.
EDIT: Only now noticed Lor's post. ;)

As such, I'll spoiler the above. I actually have not downloaded any books illegally for quite a bit of time, but I do know the tricks of the trade simply because going to a bookstore or looking for it online and purchasing it wasn't always a valid option, so as a rule of thumb, I have nothing, nor will I ever, have anything against those that download books online since they're all probably on a very tight budget, if so, and I know how that's like.
« Last Edit: September 20, 2012, 07:29:02 PM by Jian »
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Offline Lionwalker

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Re: About digital piracy
« Reply #12 on: September 20, 2012, 07:29:15 PM »
I have two points to make here:

1) I actually have nothing against illegally downloading music, films and TV shows, but balk at doing the same for books. Weird huh?  I have a strange moral compass.

2) I have a friend in Indonesia who did me a solid recently, and in pay back he asked me to purchase some books from amazon or barnes and noble and then convert them to EPUB to email to him,  this turned out to be quite tricky due to DRM.  I hate DRM.  If I buy digital content legally I should be able to store it in whatever format I want so I can use it on whatever player or reader I want.  I resent the fact that certain providers make it so you can only use digital content you purchase from them in the player/ reader they produce.  This I think is disgusting.  Luckily I have both soundtaxi for music and calibre for books (with the relevant plugs in) to clean and convert the files to the format I want. 

I agree with the second point a lot, you shouldn't be limited in what you want to do with your content as long as it remains with you. What happens when you have multiple devices? Have you read the story about Bruce Willis suing iTunes for the right to pass his iTunes library to his children when he dies? Tens of thousands of legally purchased songs will otherwise revert back to iTunes if he doesn't win.
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Offline Lionwalker

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Re: About digital piracy
« Reply #13 on: September 20, 2012, 07:33:41 PM »
Spoiler for Hiden:
Lion, as a rule of thumb, you'd have to strangle it out of someone that downloaded it illegally. Notice how no one has actually ever started naming sites? That's because those people want to support the author, too. And believe it or not, people do have budgets, man. And re-reading the same books is really quite, well, boring, after awhile. Would you rather us stay the entire day at the bookstore and finish it within three-four visits?

Also, I lived in a country where there was no English television, and we had no DvDs for about 6 years, and books were a commodity, so watching shows and the like online and legally and for free... Well, that really made me sane. Despicable to a lot of you, but I'm sane right now because of it, at least. Plus, if some really like the book, they actually do buy it to support the author. One of my best friends knows how to download everything illegally, but when a new book by Darren Shan comes out, he buys it to support the author. That isn't a parasite; that's a fan. Point is, piracy... Takes time. And if you really liked the previous books, you won't be able to wait. The debut book of an author is generally about 10.90 Euros, but their next book is normally about 18.90 Euros at the local bookstore (in Vienna).

So, let's say the debut book was uploaded illegally, and someone downloaded it. And then, heard he'd have to wait another 6 months when the book was released about a week ago and was sitting at the shelf of his/her bookstore at the price of 18.90 Euros. Boom. Bought it. Author earns more money. OR people manage avoiding wasting a huge sum of money on a debut book they absolutely despised. Just my two cents.
EDIT: Only now noticed Lor's post. ;)

As such, I'll spoiler the above. I actually have not downloaded any books illegally for quite a bit of time, but I do know the tricks of the trade simply because going to a bookstore or looking for it online and purchasing it wasn't always a valid option, so as a rule of thumb, I have nothing, nor will I ever, have anything against those that download books online since they're all probably on a very tight budget, if so, and I know how that's like.

Unfortunately, it is very easy to justify morally questionable actions, especially in the digital age where it just involves clicking a button. Would you go into a shop and take that book of the shelf?
I understand your circumstances and can sympathise, but that in no way excuses stealing or makes it a valid or 'right' decision. So, know what you are doing, if you have reasons that make you feel better, then fine, just don't use those reasons to convince yourself that it is okay. "slippery slope" hasn't become such a well-known concept without reason.
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Offline Fallen One

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Re: About digital piracy
« Reply #14 on: September 20, 2012, 07:35:25 PM »
[MOD VOICE] We have a very strict policy here of NOT advocating piracy in any shape or form. Especially not when you are using specific examples. Stop now, or face a ban. That means EVERYONE.[/MOD VOICE]

 Is there a safe way of knowing where's the line between discussing a relevant theme and advocating piracy? Would there be a warning? Or would the continuing of this discussion be like walking into a minefield, where a single misstep could result in the unleashing of the banhammer?
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