On Facts and Piracy

January 18th, 2010 · 4 Comments
by Kassia Krozser

Brian O’Leary on the major problems surrounding today’s discussions about piracy. More facts, less breathless assumptions.

At this point, there’s not much clarity in the debate. If this is an inflection point, we need data to establish trends. Declaring the answer limits discussion.

File Under: Quote of the Week

4 responses so far ↓

  • Theresa M. Moore // Jan 18, 2010 at 12:04 pm

    I noticed that the trends don’t point to anything specific, either. The excuse that “piracy occurs because of DRM” doesn’t wash with me. There is the risk that DRM actually interferes with sales by making it harder for people to share among, say, one or two friends. Pirates who try to sell the books to others or share freely on the internet are usually shut down the moment they are discovered. Other sites which have had discussions of this problem point out that piracy occurs chiefly among students, which means that the education system has failed to teach them ethics. Maybe we should hold schools responsible for the piracy since so much of it occurs on their campuses. If people want a book that badly they should pony up the money and pay for it. The campus bookstore will have its money no matter what, so it’s no different from that to buy something on the internet. There’s “free” and there is free when it is voluntary, not stolen and abused. And pirates are criminals, pure and simple. Let’s call a spade a spade and continue to prosecute.

  • Marilynn Byerly // Jan 18, 2010 at 1:20 pm

    Most of the excuses for piracy are nonsense. Books with and without DRM are pirated, books with and without digital versions are pirated, and digital books that are expensive and cheap are pirated.

    What really fuels piracy is people wanting something for nothing as well as the adolescent thrill of screwing companies and authors who can do something they can’t.

    I’ve been in the digital trenches of the anti-piracy forces for over ten years. I’ve helped educate readers about how piracy hurts writers as well as the reader who love those writers, I’ve written layman articles on copyright issues for readers and writers, and I’ve helped bring down pirate sites.

    One thing I’ve discovered is that publishing has a large army of friends out there who are more than willing to help them bring down pirates and their sites, but they make it impossible for those people to help them by making it impossible to contact them.

    All publishers, agents, and writers should have an obvious link on their home page where people can report pirates of their or their authors’ books. A simple email address like pirates@companyname.com would do.

    Even if your company doesn’t want to prosecute or warn off pirates, you’d start getting a sense of the scope of the problem. In other words, real numbers instead of guesses.

  • Heymae // Jan 18, 2010 at 5:51 pm

    I find it difficult to agree with Theresa M.Moore.
    Sometime in the future maybe, but at this moment in living there is too much fault on both sides of the spectrum. I am neither a student nor someone who cannot afford to purchase books, while I do not agree with them, some folks may even classify me as a “pirate”. Twelve months ago I wished to purchase a particular book, it was not available at my local bookstore. Via Google, I discovered it was available, both as a printed book and an E-Book. Because of the exchange rate and freight cost, the print book was unattractive. The E-Book price of US$27.50, being just slightly cheaper than the print version, was also a shocker. Hell I did not need to smell the paper, delivery would be instant, I could read upon my computer. Problem was, the publisher, “Random House,”refused the E-BOOK to be downloaded into
    Australia. I could buy the print book and have it posted, but I could NOT, download the “expensive” digital file. After this experience, to voice my complaint, forced me to look towards the online forums. Some faceless bloke, in Europe said, “Hey you can have my e-book.” … a few minutes later it was in my email box. Wow, I had just become…( well according to some folks thinking ) I had become a pirate. Ever since the days of my youth, I have exchanged print books with friends, and they with me. Is the exchange of a print book any different to the “gifting” of a digital book file ? I think not.
    If a person steals digital files and then tries to sell them on the internet, then yes you have a pirate.
    Meanwhile I have become 100% converted to the E-Book Reader, some books I download from recognized e-book booksellers, others are given to me….But never, never, ever, try to call me a pirate….Although, when it comes to the global world and digital books, I cannot say the same for some of the misguided, “head in the sand”, print publishers.
    Sorry about that !

  • Robert // Jan 20, 2010 at 8:20 am

    The 1st Rule of all Pirates – Find something of value to steal.

    What some publishers, musicians, and filmmakers forget, first comes quality product.

    We should excise the expression “couldn’t get arrested” with “couldn’t get pirated if his or her life depended upon it. “