Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Booty Call

Digital Book World is a two day digital publishing conference recently held in NY. One hot topic at the event was ebook piracy. The conclusions drawn were:

1. People are stealing a lot of ebooks. (surprise surprise!)

2. Publishers need to fight this with lawsuits, better DRM, takedown pressure, anti-piracy legislation, targeting upload sites, and ultimately fighting the pirates themselves.

Apparently, publishing has paid close attention to the music and film industries, who have been successful at stopping pirates with the above tactics.

Oh, wait a second... The RIAA and MPAA have NOT been successful at stopping piracy. In fact, they've done nothing but irritate paying consumers.

It's good to know that the smart folks in publishing are ready to spend millions of dollars to make the same mistakes, no doubt with a similar outcome.

Of course, no one invited me to speak at the conference, which is a shame, because perhaps I could have saved the publishing industry the heartache and financial trouble they're about to embrace with one simple sentence.

The Only Way To Fight Piracy Is With Cost And Convenience.

How do I know this?

Because I've done extensive experiments with ebooks. The cheaper the ebook, the more you sell. And if the ebook is free, the downloads are off the charts.

I also know how pirates think, because I'm a pirate. Yes, I admit to being one of the billion people on the planet who download copyrighted material.

In fact, I've downloaded all of my own ebooks and audiobooks for free from various bit torrent and file locker sites. I'm able to do this because I too am being pirated. A lot.

Google konrath torrent and you get over 14,000 hits. These are all sites where my work is being stolen.

Does it bother me that people are sharing my books online?

No, it doesn't. Because piracy hasn't hurt me financially.

Why is that? Especially since I can account for thousands of illegal downloads of my own material?

Because I'm still making money. I don't think piracy has hurt my sales. In fact, I think it helps my sales by giving me a wider distribution network and greater brand recognition.

My self-pubbed Kindle titles are $1.99 or less. Since last April, I've sold over 20,000 books on Amazon.

Want to hear the funny thing? These same ebooks are available for free on my website. For FREE.

Does free hurt sales? Apparently not.

I've already blogged that if I had the rights to my in-print books, I could make a bigger profit selling them for $1.99 on Kindle than I'm making with the prices my publishers have set.

Cheap sells. Free sells even more. And if you make it easy for people to get your product (like pressing a button on a Kindle or an iPhone) they won't bother going to Pirate Bay or Rapidshare or Limewire or Megaupload or Isohunt.

File sharing is a pain. It can take a long time to download a file. The files can get corrupted. Sometimes they're tough to search. Often you can't find what you want. There are viruses. Seeding files takes up bandwith and harddrive space, and there's always a fear that The Man will send you a letter saying they'll sue you.

How much easier would it be if the large publishers, instead of adding extra copyright protection and hiring a team of lawyers and tech guys and lobbyists to fight piracy, just made their downloads cheaper?

Malls are dying. Main streets are dying. What's taking their place? Wal-Mart.

Wal-Mart has shown that if you offer customers inexpensive one-stop shopping, they'll spend money.

iTunes has shown the same thing.

Amazon hasn't been able to do that yet, because publishers insist on DRM (which consumers hate) and high prices for ebooks. $9.99 for a bunch of ones and zeros is overpriced. But if it were up to the publishers, they'd charge $14.99 and more for their ebooks.

Amazon is fighting back, though. In June, they'll begin paying ebook authors a 70% royalty rate.

Let's play the numbers game. Let's say a midlist author, like, oh, JA Konrath, uploads a new Jack Daniels book on Amazon and sells it at $2.99. A coffee at Starbucks costs more than that.

Let's assume JA Konrath can sell 10,000 copies per year of an Amazon title--something he's proven he can do. The 70% royalty rate will mean he earns 20k. PER YEAR. For just the erights.

This is more than most fiction writers earn on a single book for all rights: hard, soft, audio, ebook, movie, and foreign.

Shouldn't publishers try to follow Amazon's example, rather than continuing to charge hardcover prices for ebooks, which have no shipping or production cost?

That's what I'd do. But no one is asking me. No one invited me to speak at Digital Book World.

It's impossible to stop piracy. The whole reason the internet was invented was so people could share and trade information and media.

But it is possible to co-exist with pirates, and make a good living doing so, by making sure ebooks are easily and cheaply available.

Instead, it looks like we're going to see the publishing industry make the same mistakes the music and movie industries have made.

Copyright cannot be successfully defended in a digital world. Period.

Human beings are genetically wired to share information. And the internet has made it easy.

Publishers should be taking advantage of both human nature and the internet. Instead, they're gearing up for a fight they can't win.

Oh, and since I anticipate the comments saying, "If books are free, how can we make money?" I want to restate that authors will be able to make money on free downloads someday.

Let's say a well-known author releases a free ebook. But there's a catch. In the ebook, there are fifteen print ads, like you'd see in a magazine. Each ad costs the advertiser 2 cents per impression, which is comparable to other internet advertising.

That means each free download will earn the author 30 cents.

More than 100,000 people have downloaded my free ebook, SERIAL.

If I'd sold ad space for 2 cents an impression, I'd have earned 30k in less than a year. Even more money than I'd earn selling 10,000 ebooks for $2.99 each.

Of course, I've been saying this for a few years now. And I'll keep saying it until someone finally listens.

I just hope, by the time this is over, there will still be some publishers around to listen.

53 comments:

Aaron Polson said...

Thank you for the dose of sanity.

cross said...

your ideas are good ones, and authors could certainly capitalize in the ways you propose, as long as they're already somewhat established and writing in a genre that lends itself to quick sequels, trilogies, sagas, etc..

I write literary fiction and it took me a long time to draft, revise, revise, revise, and polish my first novel. I'm currently shopping it. I'm only 4k words into my second. Maybe I'm in the wrong field.

Jamie Ford said...

Books have always been available for free...at the library. And libraries haven't hurt sales.

Kay said...

Liked your take on ebooks and bookmarked the blog.

As sort of corroboration, I think Samhain Books significantly increased their overall sales by giving away free books.

JoePike said...

I am literally shocked and stunned that the publishing industry is about to make the same mistakes the music and movie industries have made regarding going after the pirates...

What a waste of time, money, and energy. But Joe, I have a feeling that even if you had been asked to speak on the subject your opinions would have fallen on deaf ears.

LINDA MCMAKEN said...

The Grateful Dead have always allowed fans to take pictures, record their concerts and given a lot of free stuff away, and they are one of the top selling bands in history! Interesting take, as most authors I know are very militant about piracy. Thanks for a different perspective.

John McFetridge said...

The whole publishing industry may not make the same mistakes. One great thing about publishing is that it doesn't require the kind of up front capital as the movie business does so lots of smaller publishers will likely adapt better than multi-nationals run by MBAs with boards of directors to answer to.

Another good thing about selling e-books online is that, as opposed to Wal-Mart, every book can be stocked at all times.

At other points in history these kinds of technological changes would be cause for some great excitement. I'm not sure why the gloom and doom gets all the press these days. It's not like ten years ago people didn't complain all the time about the industry. A lot of this actually addresses many of those old complaints.

I guess we really just like to complain.

Jim said...

Making books "cheap" (e.g. under $2-3.00) because cheap competes with free is easy to say in an economic vacuum.

The question, however, is whether publishers and authors as a collective group can survive if everything is given away by everyone in the group "cheap." The industry needs a certain amount of money coming into it in order to economically survive. For all we know, that may turn out to be an average of $7 per ebook, especially since paper books will decline in sales and bring less revenue.

Right now you're selling lots of copies at $1.99, but this may well be because that is far less than the ebook average price. Phrased differntly, you have the most inexpensive box on the shelf. If every box on the shelf were $1.99, however, your box would have to compete strickly on the merits of the product rather than the price of the product. With no intent to deaman the quality of your product, I would anticipate that your sales would fall off. So I think your argument that you are CURRENTLY selling well at $1.99 does not necessarily translate to an indication that you would LATER sell sell at $1.99 if everything else started to do the same thing.

Giving away everything for "cheap" may simply not be economically viable. Authors don't really have the numbers available to crunch. Publishers do and I'm sure they're crunching them. In the interim, you can fully expect them to be looking at every avalable opportunity to combat piracy.

Joe Konrath said...

@Jim - I don't believe it is economically viable for publishers, in their current state of operation, to sell ebooks for $2.99.

So they need to change the way they operate, or else risk facing extinction.

So I think your argument that you are CURRENTLY selling well at $1.99 does not necessarily translate to an indication that you would LATER sell sell at $1.99 if everything else started to do the same thing.

The only way to test this is to lower the price of all books. Which I recommend.

I currently outsell just about every other ebook priced comparably to mine, while also outselling a whole lot that cost more.

Would my sales drop off if prices dropped overall? I can't say, but I don't think believe ebooks, at a low price point, are a competitive market.

It's not a case of buying either Coke or Pepsi. Readers buy more than one author.

It makes sense that higher priced ebooks (my own included) would sell in greater quantity at a lower price. But that doesn't mean my current sales would drop off. My standings on the various bestseller lists would probably drop off, but I don't see how the number I sell per day would change.

My sales have been consistent since April, and the amount of books available on Kindle has gone up dramatically since then (I believe it began at around 200,000 ebook titles, and is now double that.) So I'm not seeing how competition is a factor in my case.

I can predict a few things with certainty.

1. If ebook prices stay high, there will be greater piracy.

2. If ebook prices come down, there will be more overall ebook sales.

I would embrace an even playing field for ebooks, where coop and discounting don't matter.

Joe Konrath said...

Here's another example. I've heard that people have a much greater tendency to overeat at a buffet than during a regular meal.

A buffet encourages overeating, because everything is there and free. You don't choose between the chicken or the pizza. You get some of each.

The same thing works in grocery stores. 49 cents each, or 3 for a dollar. People always buy 3.

I can see how lower priced ebooks would encourage the same thing.

It's doubtful I'd still outsell Stephen King, but I don't see why people wouldn't buy King and me as well, since we're both cheap.

Mike Dennis said...

Great post, Joe. As always, you show plenty of insight into the problem.

Remember back in the 70s (well, maybe you don't) when the cassette tape was on the rise? The record companies were gathering their women and children and running for the caves, since the end of the world was surely right around the corner. "You mean someone can buy a blank tape and tape multiple copies of an album then give them to their FRIENDS?"

Well, they lowered the price of prerecorded cassette tapes until the tapes actually overtook vinyl in sales, shoving vinyl into the corner.

Then along came the CD, and you know what happened there.

Go back a little farther, to the 1920s. Radio comes along. Same shit: "Radio? You mean they'll be able to listen to music for free? Without having to buy records in a store? Gather up the women and children!!"

The movie studios faced extinction when TV found its way into the home. They developed new business models and now they're still around--in a different form, but they're still around.

Authors like yourself have the right idea. Make this brave new world work for you. My first novel is coming out this year (traditionally), but I fully plan to explore all the digital opportunities available to me, because that's where we're headed.

As I've said before, the publishing business as we know it today is a latter-day plantation system which has outlived its usefulness. And like the movie studios and the record labels before it, it will have to undergo serious changes in order to face the digital world, or else it will be ground into dust.

Christy Pinheiro, EA ABA said...

Keep preaching, Joe. Eventually they will listen.

Nobody wants to hear that "free" is the best price. But you've already proven that lowering your ebook price and making it widely available is a way to make real money as an author. Isn't that what we all want?

I think DRM is going to kill the Kindle if it continues. People hate it. I don't enable DRM on my ebooks, and I think publishers are going to learn very fast that the DRM books are the ones that are going to get pirated more-- just because they are PISSING people off.

FP said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Doolols said...

Hi Joe

I love your posts on ebook piracy. They match my own thoughts, except you write them down a whole lot better than I do.

I've just 'watched' (via all sorts of 'live' studio events and Tweets) the Apple iPad announcement. And in there was the iBooks announcement too. Books priced at $14.99. Oh dear.

This equates (over here in the UK) to a price of £9.28. Amazon sell tree books for less than that. Hell, local supermarkets can sell 3 from the top 50 paperbacks for that price.

Yes, we all know the authors' and publishers' lament about supermarkets, but look at it from the consumer's point of view. Why should they spend nearly ten quid on an ebook?

Silly, silly publishing industry. Why are they not listening?

Jim said...

"So they need to change the way they operate, or else risk facing extinction."

One change I anticipate is for "traditional" publishers to take on certain new authors for eBook distribution only, a category that doesn't yet exist.

Leigh said...

I have been trying for a while to post a free short through my Kindle account and it keeps telling me I have to set a price. How did you get Serial up there for free?

AstonWest said...

Only after a few publishers (and maybe a major bookstore chain) fail and go completely out of business will they start to figure out that their current method of operation needs to change...

Genie of the Shell said...

This is great. I had been suspecting everything you said, based on that whole history of the music industry, and you have confirmed my non-fears.

When digital material is free or cheap, people gobble it up in mass quantities. It's not like anyone sits there deliberating over whether to download a song or an ebook because they aren't sure they're going to get around to listening to/reading it and it's going to, what, take up shelf space?

Silly publishing industry. Humans really are not necessarily logical creatures. Time and time again, corporations get so fixated on the idea of theft that they lose sight of their profits.

Sort of a backwards version of people who get fixated on the "savings" they could get from a coupon, so they spend more money on a product than it's worth.

Blue Tyson said...

Yeah.

I seriously considered starting mediadeadpool.com this week. :)


Jim,

He doesn't have the lowest price around at $1.99 - the lowest price around is nothing, as our host pointed out. Even for his books. From multiple sources.


Aston,

Or maybe two bookselling chains... although it would be entertaining if eReader hardware saved one of them...

Losing a major publisher to bankruptcy and all the stuff that might tie up in limbo would certainly be interesting. MacMillan and co. odd's just got shorter. ;-)

Stacey Cochran said...

In December '09 just under 14,000 people downloaded The Kiribati Test. The book reached #6 overall in the Kindle store, and subsequently became viral on the web.

There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that giving away free eBooks has tremendous value with respect to launching an author, spreading brand awareness, and creating word of mouth.

The latter two (spreading brand awareness and creating word of mouth) are what separates writers whose careers are growing and those whose aren't.

My major setback right now is that there appears to be no way, other than through a major publisher, to get your eBook on Kindle for free permanently.

While I had four weeks for free using Amazon's Vendor Central, Amazon "ended the promotional period" without warrant, and The Kiribati Test has subsequently fallen in rankings (and exposure).

As yet, there is no way for writers without a major publisher to get a book on Kindle for free permanently. This is frustrating.

Bradley Robb said...

Damn right. The best thing publishers could do is market eBooks as impulse buys. Heaven forbid people buy more books. I though that's what publishers wanted...

Chris said...

I saw a publishing exec recently quoted as saying that they were going to RAISE the cost of e-books in the near future because they plan on adding DVD-like features--interviews with the author, alternate endings, etc.--were included.

Obviously raising prices on e-books is insane. I don't care if there are extra features--as Joe has mentioned, cheap e-books are outselling their competition already. A very small sliver of the market would actually pay more for these features. And then these new versions will be available for free anyways...

Jim said...

Apple's annoncement of the iPad on Wednesday, togehter with the new iBookStore, shows us that publishers have determined they need to set the price of eBooks at $12-15 to stay economically viable (e.g. not canabalize paper sales, cover expenses, etc.). So, they're not getting cheaper, they're going the other direction.

It will be intersting to see if they pull books out of the Kindle store.

It's all up in the air where this is going. One thing for sure, though, is that ebooks will not become cheap or free, at least not from major publishers. They can't exist on cheap or free.

To the extent piracy begins to eat at their profits to any measurable extent, I think we'll see them react with all the law allows.

Anonymous said...

Something is better than nothing…

Sure I’d like that huge seven figure advance from Simon & Schuster and have my novel-of-the-millennium internationally sale off the shelves! That’s my utopia… Reality. I can’t even break through the privileged publishing submission process, so my manuscript (soon to be scripts) sits in the corner of my bedroom like a stack of dirty mags collecting dusk. So why not shoot it out there for free as an ebook? Even if one person reads it, even if they hate it, that’s better than nothing. I agree with you on this one but not because I’m sure to make money, but because I’d find more satisfaction watching download counts than staring at a couple of reams of idle printed paper.

n s

Fleur Bradley said...

Great post, as always. They should've invited you at Digital Book World; time for some new voices and fresh ideas.

Stacey Cochran said...

My writing group partner ELISA LORELLO is currently ranked #6 and #45 overall in the Kindle store.

I just workshopped both of these books with her in 2007 and 2008 in Raleigh.

She is going to make a lot of dough, folks.

David Alastair Hayden said...

If major pubs continue to put ebooks at extreme prices, they will continue to provide opportunities for independent publishers and authors, like myself.

And it's hard for the publishers to listen. They are frightened about ebooks in the first place. The whole model scares them. Piracy just adds to that. Plus, for every sensible author telling them to avoid DRM, there is a DRM advocate trying to sell his product to them, telling them horror stories, etc.

Heather Dearly said...

Semi off-topic question:

I still haven't bought an ereader. Do you have a preference? I feel a little weird about not supporting an author's paperback sales as much if I have one, but I am very attracted to convenience. Is Kindle now the most author friendly reader?

David H. Burton said...

Here is a link to an interview with someone who pirates books. What he says aligns exactly with what you've said here and before on your blog. You are on the ball, Joe.

http://www.themillions.com/2010/01/confessions-of-a-book-pirate.html

Stacey Cochran said...

Hey, folks, join us tonight Friday January 29 at 11 PM (EST) LIVE on Book Chatter. We have Smashwords.com Founder and CEO Mark Coker lined up for the hour, and we are going to be talking about anything and everything eBook related (distribution, pricing, Kindle, iPad, Nook, royalty rates, DRM).

You'll be able to Live Chat your questions for the whole hour. Here's the link:

http://www.ustream.tv/channel/bookchatter

Joe, I would love to have you call in as a expert panelist if you're available. Just drop me an email if you can and I'll send you the phone # again.

Susan said...

Anybody got the scoop on why Macmillan titles have all been removed from Amazon?

Raven Corinn Carluk said...

I think I've fallen in love.

All the other author blogs I read complain so much about e-book piracy, and I have to bite my tongue. I feel like the only one who thinks of book as piracy as essentially no different than borrowing a book from the library; you're reading a book that's been paid for once, and the author gets no further revenue.

But now I've read your post, and I'm completely with you. It angers me that e-books are the same price as physical books. Slinging bits through the net just doesn't cost that much. I would also be much more willing to buy e-books if they cost me less than my energy drink.

Hopefully people will take note of this, and realize you've got some extremely intelligent points.

Much better than the pitchforks and torches of normal anti-piracy.

Theresa Milstein said...

I've been frustrated with traditional publishing. They seem to have the same deer in the headlights mentality that newspapers have displayed. I keep hearing that if I put any of my material on a website or create an ebook, I'm doomed to never become published. Yet, you and others have shown it can be done. I think I'm going to have to dig down deep into your archives for more details.

I'm going to NESCBWI in May, which is supposed to be about technology. I'm curious about what will be discussed.

Connie said...

I'd love to hear your thoughts on the Amazon/Macmillan fight.

Terri said...

f.y.i. I would happily pay for a book that did not contain advertising, rather than download a copy for free including adverts. Just so you know there is one more option :)

Carl said...

Better DRM?

I wonder if publishers have actually ever taken a look at what pirated books are available. Many books that can be found online aren't available as e-books through legitimate sources. Someone has actually taken the time to scan a book and make it available.

So, for book pirates, the easiest way to circumvent DRM is to just check the book out from the library and scan it. And us consumers will just continue to be irritated by DRM.

Like the music and movie industries, the book industry just doesn't have a clue.

author Scott Nicholson said...

Baen has given away books for free for years and more authors (like Cory Doctorow) basically built their careers on free books.

Joe, I thought you'd posted somewhere that your publisher paid for some type of ad or good placement for Serial--which undoubtedly helped, though I am not sure of the difference or whether this publisher role is going to make an impact on the digital future.

Esther said...

Thanks for your voice. I'm going to go buy one of your Kindle books at Amazon.

Rivkah said...

These were some of the most logical, sane comments I've ever heard about e-publishing. I've never gotten selling a digital book for ten bucks (or twenty!) when there is no print cost and no returns. It makes no sense! I don't buy ebooks exactly because of that; for the same price I can get a print book that I can actually place on my shelves or lend to friends. DRM doesn't allow you even that.

I work in comics, so I'm familiar with ad placement. For all that it's irritating in a 28-page comic, it works, and I think I'd be less irritated by it in a larger book where the ads are more sparsely placed. I'm kind of amazed no one's paid extra to have the hulk or spiderman drawn holding a bottle of pepsi yet, though, in the comics I mention.

I'll be taking your advice when I self-publish my children's comic. I've a lot invested in actually printing it (self-printed three-color letterpress, perfect bound, hardcover with embossing) because I love the print artform, but I also want a version that's accessible to people who can't pay a lot for it. There are people who like to collect and then there are people who want to consume as much for as little as possible. I would like to reach both audiences.

Forwarding this one. :)

Steve said...

Joe -- When you are selling a new book to a publisher, do you have the option to keep the ebook rights yourself?

For example, could you let XYZ publishing house handle all print and audiobook copies of your next great book, and sell the ebook copies of your book directly through amazon, b&n, and other ebook stores?

Joe Konrath said...

When you are selling a new book to a publisher, do you have the option to keep the ebook rights yourself?

I do. But I think publishers really want to hold onto those rights int he current climate, and might turn down the deal if they aren't included.

Just Joe said...

Hello, it pleased me greatly to read this post particuarly
Google konrath torrent and you get over 14,000 hits. These are all sites where my work is being stolen.

Does it bother me that people are sharing my books online?

No, it doesn't. Because piracy hasn't hurt me financially.

Why is that? Especially since I can account for thousands of illegal downloads of my own material?

Because I'm still making money. I don't think piracy has hurt my sales. In fact, I think it helps my sales by giving me a wider distribution network and greater brand recognition.


It pleased me be cause it confirmed my exact theory about online piracy ... one of the biggest volume sellers of ebooks concluded the books that are pirated are also the ones that have an increased level of sales basically saying if it is pirated it will sell very well also...

Linda said...

I completely agree. I download because prices are higher than I can afford; but I'd trade a latte for an ebook any day. Also the advertising is a great idea...

Also the Baen Free Library is my friend. :) It's a testing-bed for your theory that free doesn't hurt... and it's working well.

What do you think of authors who publish books as they write as advertising for the soon-to-come published version? (Cory Doctorow's Makers is an example. Also Sharon Lee and Steve Miller's books Fledgling and Saltation.)

mbohn said...

"book on Amazon and sells it at $2.99. A coffee at Starbucks costs more than that"

I've never been able to pay more than $1.60 for a coffee at Starbucks, that's for 8 oz, pretty much the same as at McDonalds for their premium coffee. Yes, they do have bigger, fancier beverages for closer to the $2.99 you mention but they are not "a coffee."

Richard said...

Your ideas are good for authors and bad for publishers. The publishing industries actions are about protecting the publishing industry. They don't care about authors.

Anonymous said...

Quote: The publishing industries actions are about protecting the publishing industry. They don't care about authors. Unquote

Did they ever?

SlowRain said...

I agree wholeheartedly with most of what you said. The publishing industry is getting it all wrong because they're so worried about protection that the are missing promotion. I couldn't agree more that lower prices equals more sales and more profits, but most people JUST DON'T GET IT.

The only downside is I'd like to see it done, not with free downloads subsidized by advertising, but with relatively low prices in general.

Good post.

Anonymous said...

@Jim, et al.

It may very well be the case that his sales increase significantly, simply because more people naturally gravitate to the markets he offers his books in, because there are so many good deals to be had there. No store wants to be on a block where no other store offers a good deal. Rather, one wants to be with the best, as everyone cross pollinates. This is almost proven before the fact by the way that mp3 sales and app sales work today - the better your forum, the better your sales.

The Loudmouthman said...

So heres what happens. Im going to buy one of your books.. Why ?

Because your one of the voices making sense.

Then I am going to link to this point on my twitter account ( circa 500 active readers ) and talk about it on my Podcast ( another 200 listeners )

All because someone linked your post on Hacker News.

So you wrote one post and it gets near to 800 prospective views from this one reader. Publishers cannot seem to understand this new model of overheard advertising.


Thank you

Anonymous said...

You are a very smart man, and I think you will only become more and more successful over time.

My limit for buying an ebook is $8 - what I'd be willing to pay for a paperback. Above that, I pirate. This means that I still pay for the vast majority of the ebooks I read, but since the big publishers have started the agency model with its significantly higher prices, I am pirating more than ever before.

admin said...

We need more authors like you. To all those greedy control freak publishers I have news for you. YOur rights stop where my rights begin. It seems the law agrees with me pretty much worldwide.
If I'm not selling it or pretending that I made it, I'm not a pirate. Either adapt to changing technology or good riddance. Get a clue.


Piracy definition:

Noun

* S: (n) plagiarist, plagiarizer, plagiariser, literary pirate, pirate (someone who uses another person's words or ideas as if they were his own)
* S: (n) pirate, buccaneer, sea robber, sea rover (someone who robs at sea or plunders the land from the sea without having a commission from any sovereign nation)
* S: (n) pirate, pirate ship (a ship that is manned by pirates)


"Piracy"

The practice of labelling the infringement of exclusive rights in creative works as "piracy" predates statutory copyright law. Prior to the Statute of Anne 1709, the Stationers' Company of London in 1557 received a Royal Charter giving the company a monopoly on publication and tasking it with enforcing the charter. Those who violated the charter were labelled pirates as early as 1603.[1] "Piracy" referred to the unauthorised manufacturing and selling of works in copyright.[2] Article 12 of the 1886 Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works uses the term piracy in relation to copyright infringement, stating that: "Pirated works may be seized on importation into those countries of the Union where the original work enjoys legal protection."[3] Article 61 of the 1994 Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPs) requires criminal procedures and penalties in cases of "wilful trademark counterfeiting or copyright piracy on a commercial scale".[4] Piracy refers to acts intentionally committed for financial gain, though more recently copyright owners have described online copyright infringement, particularly in relation to peer-to-peer file sharing networks, as piracy.[5]
[edit] "Theft"
An unskippable anti-piracy film included on movie DVDs equates copyright infringement with theft.

Copyright owners frequently refer to copyright infringement as "theft". In law copyright infringement does not refer to actual theft, but an instance where a person exercises one of the exclusive rights of the copyright owner without authorisation.[6] Courts have distinguished between copyright infringement and theft, holding, for instance, in the United States Supreme Court case Dowling v. United States (1985) that bootleg phonorecords did not constitute stolen property and that "...interference with copyright does not easily equate with theft, conversion, or fraud. The Copyright Act even employs a separate term of art to define one who misappropriates a copyright... 'an infringer of the copyright.'" In the case of copyright infringement the province guaranteed to the copyright owner by copyright law is invaded, i.e. exclusive rights, but no control, physical or otherwise, is taken over the copyright, nor is the copyright owner wholly deprive of using the copyrighted work or exercising the exclusive rights owned.[7]

Sharing copied music is legal in some countries, such as Canada and The Netherlands (downloading only),[20][21] provided that the songs are not sold.

source http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Piracy_(media)

Anonymous said...

@Jim

I help "administrate" a "respectable volume" of direct-download warehousing and sharing locations, specializing primarily in Ebooks. Accept the following post as a circumstantial testimonial from a subject matter expert.

What you have stated in your post strays dangerously close to the truth, I suspect close enough to make a certain sort of critic uncomfortable. And that critic cannot accept a world in which piracy can no longer be stopped. That is their loss.

While these fools are busy floundering in an age in which the value of information has changed, the wise will seek to turn the situation toward their advantage, as you have done.

The communities that are dedicated to circumventing DRM are literally hundreds of times larger that the organizations trying to define systems of "right management." And moreover, the rate at which new shares are circulated have been increasing steadily for years.

With that said, you have hit upon a simple truth: You are creating new value in a situation where publishers are drowning by clinging to outdated sales model. While I am personally unfamiliar with you as an author, I have a great deal of respect for your approach. Because of this, I offer you the following idea.

With your next Ebook release, consider the following:

Write and release versions of that work on large community-oriented file sharing sites, and in a variety of formats. Embed an explanation of your work, and your ongoing efforts as an author who is against "big publishing" and the militant pogrom for enhanced DRM. Also, in this explanation, request that the reader make a donation for the value you have provided them. Provide a link to a web location you control that would allow *completely anonymous contribution* for your work, allowing the would-be thief the opportunity to remain unidentified, while still possibly providing a contribution. Never ask for a specific amount of money for your "pirate sales," and on that site, provide additional suggestions for unidentifiable payment.

If even one petty $.50 transaction occurs, that is $.50 you would not have had, and at far less work than you likely get with publisher distribution and payment.

Pirate communities are less motivated to simply scan your work if you just post the best version available yourself.

Scott Thomas Photography said...

Great ideas, Joe! As one who is starting to write ebooks, this is sound advice. If this kind of pricing works for phone, tablet and even computer app stores, it should easily work for ebooks.

Really, with pricing less than $5 (which I feel is the online equivalent of an impulse buy), I don't think much about buying ebooks or apps at a click of a mouse.