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Janitor On Duty

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May 15th, 2009

3:03 PM

Ebook piracy, ooh

Whenever I update my website, I go to Amazon to nab the book covers to go along with the review. Sometimes, when Amazon has that annoying "Look Inside!" thingy, the cover cannot be pinched easily so I turn to Google. And these last two months I noticed something interesting: quite often when I look up the author's name and the title of the book in question, the first few search results will consist of at least one link to either a pirate download site or a torrent site.

It's not like this last year. I personally don't like reading ebooks unless the medium offered is only electronic - I prefer to hold a book in my hands and read at leisure - but I guess I'm in the minority here, seeing the proliferation of these pirate sites.

Is this because of the economy? Heaven knows, I'm personally buying less books than usual, and for a book junkie like me, this is not a painless decision. If someone builds a book warehouse next to my house and tells me that I can walk in anytime to take any (stolen) book in there that I want for free, I can't promise you that I won't be tempted to do so, since I'm human and I have my weakness too. I can only imagine that there are many people who can't afford books who poach those books instead, so to speak. I'm not saying that what they do is correct, mind you, I am instead saying that I understand why sometimes people do that even if they know it is wrong. The temptation to just grab those free things, especially when they are things you absolutely love and crave, is not an easy one to overcome.

Perhaps it's also due to the increasingly widespread use of ebook readers?

Either well, I wonder how the epublishing industry will deal with this. RIAA's method of going after the pirates using lawyers and everything else at their disposal didn't quite succeed, did it? Make DRM even more obnoxious? Lowering the ebook prices some more? Ask Apple for help?  It will be interesting to see what will happen.

7 comment(s).

Posted by Anon:

I don't think there is a way to stop it. I've had many titles stolen this way. I even found some for sale on auction sites. I'm one of those that doesn't mind if someone sends titles to friends or family but these sites bug me. I would like them to stop masking the names of the people and post their ISPs. It wold be easy to black list them from there. That's probably the only way to stop them. Even Pirate Bay promises that the lawsuits against them won't end their theft.
May 15th, 2009 @ 9:55 PM

Posted by Anon:

One quick thing-people were selling ebooks on the auction site not paperbacks. These were ebooks downloaded from peer to peer networks. These same p2p don't care if your copyright has been violated. They will only pull the titles if the author jumps through many hoops. It is their belief that any purchaser has the right to post and thereby become in effect publishers themselves. I've read many blogs where the owner laughs at those who would purchase anything for entertainment whether it be books, movies, or music. They believe only chumps pay.

As for the reader that is low on funds, many places give away books including fictionwise. If they have a hard to cure reading jones, they can always become a reviewer.
May 15th, 2009 @ 10:04 PM

Posted by meh:

Huh...that's me at 10:15. I am just wondering why so many people think that, e.g., violence in video games leads to violence in kids, or Joe Camel leads to kids smoking, or that sex on TV (well, okay, that's a given but its effect is pretty unique!!! as one of the two primary drives), or that a pregnant girl allowed to take her regular highschool classes will lead to more underaged pregnancy, yadda yadda yadda, but the same concerned parents who are book buyers don't adopt an attitude of condoning theft because they find the current means of authors' protecting their intellectual property to be inconvenient?
May 15th, 2009 @ 10:25 PM

Posted by meh:

and "don't adopt" should not have "don't" in it - they DO condone theft because they find DRM inconvenient
May 15th, 2009 @ 10:26 PM

Posted by Mrs G:

meh, that's because those parents were too busy downloading free music, heh. Seriously, I actually know lawyers and policemen who download free music, movies, and porn off the Web while knowing that what they are doing is wrong. Human nature, as I've said!
May 15th, 2009 @ 11:07 PM

Posted by kirsten saell:

A friend of mine came into my work yesterday to excitedly tell my boss (a huge Star Trek fan) that she'd just seen the movie and it was great. Living in the tiny, isolated town that we do, he asked where she'd gone to see it. Her reply: "Oh, my son downloaded it."

She had no idea why I'd be pissed about that (and to his credit, my boss also booed her over the theft). No idea. I mean, do you have to spell it out? Movie studios don't make movies out of a sense of charity. If I wanted to give my work away for free, I'd do it. Would she hire someone to mow her lawn or clean her house, and then not pay them? Does she think the time and energy that goes into writing a book or recording a song or making a movie is meaningless and not deserving of compensation because it's invested in a form of entertainment and not something more necessary to daily life? Would she work for free? I don't fucking think so.

You want to watch a movie? You should fucking pay for it. You want to read my books, you should pay for them, or get them from the fucking library, or borrow a print copy from a friend, or find some other legal way to get your hands on it.

I suppose if she buys the DVD when it comes out, that might mollify me somewhat, but honestly, theft is theft, and the only difference between people who download pirated big budget movies and those who download pirated copies of my books is the fact that the movie studio is in a better financial position to absorb the loss.

Fuck, even my kids know that illegally downloading music is wrong. A freaking dollar a song, or $4.50 a book, shouldn't be too much to ask.

We ought to hold an international piracy day--where people who've admitted to illegal downloads have to go to work and not get paid for it. I can only imagined the gnashing of teeth that would accompany such an idea.
May 16th, 2009 @ 2:51 AM

Posted by meh:

@Louise - there are a lot of solutions people think will work, but they have nothing but anecdotal evidence or gut feeling to back them up. There are a great many software programs that offer what you talk about - either long trials, low-tech, limited feature, etc. And while it works to get some people to buy, anecdotally (based on my own use of such software), those people already are shoppers who want to test drive before they purchase non-returnable, high-priced software. The programs I have in mind are all still highly pirated - making my licensed versions rather dearly priced.

As to sampling before buying non-returnable - kindle, as an example, gives samples of the first 10% of the book. That's a sufficient carrot, IMO.
May 16th, 2009 @ 9:50 PM