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Piracy of eBooks: A Growing Problem, Or An Opportunity?
engine




msg:4270061
 12:30 pm on Feb 21, 2011 (gmt 0)

Piracy of eBooks: A Growing Problem, Or An Opportunity? [reviews.cnet.com]
Over the months I've received news of the occasional blog post and tweets, but more recently I popped open an alert to learn that my book was being pirated--both as a separate file and part of two larger Torrents called 2,500 Retail Quality Ebooks (iPod, iPad, Nook, Sony Reader) and 2,500 Retail Quality Ebooks for Kindle (MOBI).

I had the strange reaction of being both dismayed and weirdly honored that someone had selected my book to strip free of its copy-protection (DRM) and include as part of a collection of "quality" e-books, many of which were from very good authors.


If you're an author with little or no following, surely this is an opportunity. If you're an established author that relies on sales, it's going to hurt.

Should the established author fight, or ignore, and should the unknown author grasp this as an opportunity to get known.

Should authors add extras only available to 'paying' subscribers?

 

Key_Master




msg:4270065
 1:10 pm on Feb 21, 2011 (gmt 0)

Unfortunately, my book is also in the "honored" list of pirated ebooks that have popped up in the last month or so. I can't understand why an author would be honored that their book was being stolen. It's theft, pure and simple. No way to profit off of it and I hardly believe it is an opportunity to get known.

Most people don't understand the huge expense the publisher fronts to put a book together and get it on shelves. In my case, hundreds of thousands of dollars and that's very small potatoes in comparison to some books out there.

StoutFiles




msg:4270262
 8:48 pm on Feb 21, 2011 (gmt 0)

Most people don't understand the huge expense the publisher fronts to put a book together and get it on shelves.


Most people understand, they just don't care. They want things for free and they want them now.

The internet is going to be regulated soon enough. There's just too much money at stake to let this continue to go on. For every bug you squash, two appear in their place.

incrediBILL




msg:4270300
 10:24 pm on Feb 21, 2011 (gmt 0)

I think people miss the point that people that couldn't afford the book in the first place, or are unwilling to pay for it, could just as easily get it for free at the local public library.

People willing to buy books will continue to buy books and support the authors.

Those that wouldn't buy it in the first place most likely never will so nothing is actually lost to those people except they now possess something that doesn't rightfully belong to them.

Of course there are people that read entire books sitting in B&N or Borders that never buy them either, what can you do?

IMO a good preemptive strike used by some eBook publishers is to give away the first chapter free so you can try before you buy, which is the main motivating factor IMO, to see if you like the book in the first place.

wheel




msg:4270305
 10:32 pm on Feb 21, 2011 (gmt 0)

Those that wouldn't buy it in the first place most likely never will so nothing is actually lost to those people except they now possess something that doesn't rightfully belong to them.

lol. Says the guy who spends most of his waking life trying to stop people from scraping his site.

If authors want to give their books away for free, they should do so. If they choose not to, and someone else ignores copyright law to reproduce their work without permission, those folks should be punished within the confines of the law. Not just let go with a 'oh well, what can we do" and a shrug.

incrediBILL




msg:4270307
 10:38 pm on Feb 21, 2011 (gmt 0)

Says the guy who spends most of his waking life trying to stop people from scraping his site.


Completely different, apples and oranges.

The scrapers are trying to make a profit off my content.

Those passing around eBooks with hacked DRM usually aren't trying to make a profit.

I didn't suggest all legal means shouldn't be used to protect their property, I merely stated that those that would stoop to take a free book, or music, or movie, probably wouldn't have purchased them in the first place which played to the OT of whether they were actually losing money from the act of the piracy or not.

In the case of the scraping, where the content is being monetized against your own site, it's obvious there's going to be a loss of revenue.

Likewise, If the pirated books were actually being sold, opposed to given away freely, then there would be an obvious loss of revenue to consider.

Just consider in the real world how books are used and you start to get the idea there's a lot more being read than sold. I personally knew a group of 6-10 people that bought similar types of books and would share them within that group. Not piracy whatsoever as it's legal to give away your book after you've read it, or resell it, but it obviously impacted the authors revenue stream.

[edited by: incrediBILL at 10:46 pm (utc) on Feb 21, 2011]

wheel




msg:4270312
 10:44 pm on Feb 21, 2011 (gmt 0)

It's not different. It's identical.

Intent to profit doesn't justify theft. If I steal your car and drive it for a week or two but don't profit from it, now it's not a crime? That's OK with you?

If so, don't forget to park it in the driveway with the keys in it.

incrediBILL




msg:4270314
 10:50 pm on Feb 21, 2011 (gmt 0)

Intent to profit doesn't justify theft. If I steal your car and drive it for a week or two but don't profit from it, now it's not a crime? That's OK with you?


I never said it was OK, I said it probably wouldn't generate any revenue in the first place, just like those single copies sold to libraries (which is legal) never generate any residual income even if a thousand people read it, which was my point.

I'm all for going after them with every legal means possible.

Protecting copyright and whether it would actually result in additional revenues are two completely different issues.

Apples and oranges.

outland88




msg:4270325
 11:46 pm on Feb 21, 2011 (gmt 0)

Bill you just keep babbling on. Give it a rest. Wheel's right.

tangor




msg:4270345
 12:08 am on Feb 22, 2011 (gmt 0)

The freetards are going to queer it for all, eventually. Makes no difference if it is a book, website, film, music... Regulation (as in the government getting involved) to ENFORCE EXISTING LAWS in most countries will queer the internet... sooner or later. This isn't about ebooks, sites, film, music, it is about THEFT and CONVERSION and INFRINGEMENT. We can't turn a blind eye to it... yet, we do have a problem with 1x billion on the web with odd morals making it more difficult to protect copyrights. Heck, even Microsoft is bleeding in this regard --- some might chuckle, some might understand, but hopefully all will realize freetard thefts are not a good thing.

StoutFiles




msg:4270363
 12:45 am on Feb 22, 2011 (gmt 0)

Likewise, If the pirated books were actually being sold, opposed to given away freely, then there would be an obvious loss of revenue to consider.


There IS a loss of revenue! If your book is given away for free, then no one is buying the book!

Yes, people always make the same tired argument that whomever would take your content for free wouldn't pay for it. I beg to differ. There have been numerous times where I've had to purchase ebooks when I couldn't find a free version for college courses. Same with a few games and some music. Free content is loss revenue.

incrediBILL




msg:4270371
 1:13 am on Feb 22, 2011 (gmt 0)

Bill you just keep babbling on. Give it a rest. Wheel's right.


I was hardly babbling, maybe I should draw a picture instead.

1. I didn't disagree with Wheel whatsoever, he's right, copyright should be protected.

HOWEVER,

2. Enforcing copyright does not equal watershed of lost income. While copyright should be enforced and maybe it will recover some lost income, unless you're the size of Disney it's not likely to be the big windfall people think it will be.

3. Honest people will always buy things honestly and the rest (pirates, thieves, etc.) are hardly in the product marketing plan in the first place. Ever meet anyone that makes a good living running around looking for a place to steal a book or a movie?

4. Lastly, there are legal places to get books, movies, music for free or low cost, like I pointed out such as the library, used media resellers, or borrowed/loaned/hand-me-downs. How many know the Nook and now Kindle allow sharing? There's no additional revenue from those shared eBooks, just legal within the DRM. So even if you close the pirate sites, the media is still publicly available for free, nothing has really changed except the convenience of acquisition.

people always make the same tired argument that whomever would take your content for free wouldn't pay for it. I beg to differ.


I beg to differ as well. I've known people living on the fringe. They download pirate stuff because it's either buy a book, movie, music or buy food. You do the math. They will never create revenue for the author.



Regarding is it an opportunity?

Only if you put it out free yourself in a very public way, such as how Justin Bieber and many others have done on YouTube. Having your work stolen and buried in a torrent somewhere is hardly the kind of publicity that results in opportunities.

Key_Master




msg:4270394
 2:26 am on Feb 22, 2011 (gmt 0)

I can't speak for Nook but I do know that you can only lend ebooks from one Kindle account to another if the publisher allows it and then only for 14 days. If the publisher does allow it, the person who lent the ebook will not be able to read their copy until the ebook is "returned".

In regards to the sharing feature Amazon now offers to Kindle users- you can only share ebooks with up to six devices registered to your personal Amazon.com account.

Libraries generally only have one or maybe a handful of certain titles on hand at one time. These are lent out on a first come, first serve basis and you are required to return it within a specified time period. They aren't mass producing copies and handing them out to the general public for free.

StoutFiles




msg:4270400
 2:40 am on Feb 22, 2011 (gmt 0)



Honest people will always buy things honestly and the rest (pirates, thieves, etc.) are hardly in the product marketing plan in the first place. Ever meet anyone that makes a good living running around looking for a place to steal a book or a movie?


You make it sound like thieves are mentally challenged. Besides numerous sites that don't even involve torrents, music itself is the easiest thing to get for free.

1. YouTube - While the bitrate isn't great, it's great for instant listing, especially on mobile phones.

2. Google - "index of "artist_name"

3. Sites I won't list, but they just spider the web and categorize mp3 files, mostly from shared file sites.


I beg to differ as well. I've known people living on the fringe. They download pirate stuff because it's either buy a book, movie, music or buy food. You do the math. They will never create revenue for the author.


So you know some people who would never buy material they steal, and I know people that would.

(People that would + People that wouldn't) > 0. Hence, lost revenue.

coachm




msg:4270410
 3:17 am on Feb 22, 2011 (gmt 0)

It's kind of funny to see people talking about this, and I wonder how many are actually serious authors or publishers. I'm both. My books have sold over 500,000 copies in print. And yes, they have been pirated in ebook formats, and if I search I'll find them via the usual suspect repositories.

The issue isn't whether stealing stuff is right or wrong. It's about whether there is any point in trying to stamp out piracy if you are an author or publisher, and I can tell you that the answer is that it's simply not worth it. If one sells millions, one can hire someone to do that kind of work, but for most publishers/writers, you could spend all your time tracking down and doing DMCA's and it's like swatting flies.

Writers write. I'm not a lawman. If I'm tracking down rapscallion scofflaws, I ain't writing.

So, if I could wave a wand and make all the theft go away, I would. But as a real life working writer/publisher, I have the next book and the next book to do.

Here's the reality for writers and publishers. If you can't stomach being ripped off, do something else, or make sure you don't do ebooks (although now people are scanning in physical books)

Even for the major publishing companies, including the multinationals that have published most of my books, THEY don't bother either.

Does piracy affect me income-wise? Maybe some. Probably more so since I've become a publisher and venturing into the industry on a different scale and basis. For the most part, I agree with Incredibill. Professionals who are my market will buy if they see value. They aren't all that likely to steal. And those that steal, probably wouldn't buy anyway.

coachm




msg:4270413
 3:26 am on Feb 22, 2011 (gmt 0)

I wanted to add something I forgot. Piracy DOES determine what gets written and released if it appears that pirating of a title is high while sales revenue is low, even if those two things are NOT factually related. I've just completed the formating etc to release my newest book in all ebook formats, including Kindle and Ipad.

It's DAYS of crappy, tedious boring work, and I hate doing it. If I see that legit sales of the title are low, and I see pirating going on, I'll simply not release future titles in e-format. I'm not being sulky here, but I run a business, and I have to spend my time in ways that will a) be enjoyable, and b) pay the bills.

Clearly the big publishers don't work that way, but we are seeing the resurgence of small publishers, such as myself who need to focus effort. It may be that piracy doesn't greatly impact revenue, but it's perceptions that count, and nobody, authors and publishers, and programmers don't like to feel like suckers.

I AM watching what happens to my newest release - it just went into distribution today, so I won't know for months what happens.

Key_Master




msg:4270437
 5:33 am on Feb 22, 2011 (gmt 0)

This topic reminds me of the legal wrangling that led to the Google Book Search Settlement Agreement. Imagine the effect it would have on ebook sales today and into the future if publishers and authors hadn't bothered to object to Google's copyright infringements.

loner




msg:4270438
 5:41 am on Feb 22, 2011 (gmt 0)

Bill you just keep babbling on. Give it a rest. Wheel's right.


Ditto.

Don't publish in electronic form if you don't want your work copied and passed along without regard for your rights.

Yeah, library, right. FYI, you don't get to keep those books, just borrow them.

incrediBILL




msg:4270449
 6:04 am on Feb 22, 2011 (gmt 0)

Yeah, library, right. FYI, you don't get to keep those books, just borrow them.


I know people that take their laptops to the local library and rip library music CD's right in front of the librarian that was clueless about what was happening.

If someone has a scanner and OCR, give them a copy they'll make their own. Once the first digital copy is made, it doesn't matter if they ever release on eBook or not, the pirated copies are out there.

My point about the library wasn't that the books had to be returned, it was they get read freely without additional contribution to the author, might as well be pirated for an intents and purposes.

Music on the other hand, was ripped at the library and kept, in less than a couple of minutes.

Sgt_Kickaxe




msg:4270461
 7:07 am on Feb 22, 2011 (gmt 0)

~ Canada has no net neutrality, they do have low bandwidth caps and high overage charges.
~ Canada has an ongoing legal battle because the biggest provider is also the TV regulator with their own shows.
~ Canada has some talks started in Ottawa about "regulating" Canadian internet beyond just net neutrality issues. (invitations sent out to all .ca owners this week)

SO, it would appear that regulating WHO can put WHAT online, and HOW MUCH that will cost them is on the table (in Canada) which makes it on the radar (in the U.S.).

example of disscussion - If affiliates have to pay $500 a year for a domain they are much less likely to create tons of sites. If an affiliate is taxed heavily for "net" income they may start protecting their copyrights more vigorously. etc...etc. Regulation is coming (and freedom by 4th amendment is vanishing)

edit: and lawsuits are coming, you can't charge arbitrary domain amounts to punish people if your costs don't warrant, can you?

Rosalind




msg:4270522
 12:01 pm on Feb 22, 2011 (gmt 0)

My point about the library wasn't that the books had to be returned, it was they get read freely without additional contribution to the author, might as well be pirated for an intents and purposes.

Have you never heard of Public Lending Right? It's payable on the books you take out at a rate of about 6p in the UK. Lots of countries have it.

wheel




msg:4270528
 12:33 pm on Feb 22, 2011 (gmt 0)

t's kind of funny to see people talking about this, and I wonder how many are actually serious authors or publishers. I'm both. My books have sold over 500,000 copies in print. And yes, they have been pirated in ebook formats, and if I search I'll find them via the usual suspect repositories.

And I used to own a bookstore and thus derived my income from the sale of books. Shrug. It doesn't invalidate one's opinions.

In fact, I sold textbooks. And students ripping textbooks to electronic format and then either distributing them or returning the book for refund has a huge impact on income. The students did only have one choice - buy the book if they're taking the course.

gmb21




msg:4270566
 2:41 pm on Feb 22, 2011 (gmt 0)

It seems to me that most people think that, if something is in digital format it SHOULD be free. Many honest people who wouldn’t consider stealing a pen from the office, will offer you free copies of Windows or Photoshop. Surely this must hurt the revenue streams of these companies.

Often it’s only when you start to produce your own content that you become more aware of the fact that there is a real person out there, behind the website, who went to a lot of effort to create that content/software/music/etc, and ought to receive some benefit from it.

rogerd




msg:4270608
 4:32 pm on Feb 22, 2011 (gmt 0)

The same arguments apply for ebooks as for music:

1) Once the intellectual property is in usable digital form, it WILL be pirated if it has any value at all.

2) The cost of trying to stop piracy is high. Even the RIAA has had very limited success despite huge expenditures.

3) For years, artists have been encouraged to not make music sales their only source of income, and to focus on live performance revenues, branded collateral products, etc. The same is true for authors of business books: if you've been ripped off a million times, you certainly have viable speaking, consulting, and product sales opportunities.

Note that I'm not saying piracy is OK or that it should be tolerated. Rather, my point is that if your business model is based on someone stopping piracy of digital IP, you have a problem.

I think IncrediBill and those disagreeing with him really aren't that far apart. It's true that the odds that someone who downloaded a compilation of 2500 books, or who figured out how to download your book, would have shelled out the cash to buy it are very low. At the same time, one can't argue that the revenue lost is zero; at least a few legitimate buys are lost to illicit downloads. The only question is the magnitude - are we talking 2%, 20%, or 80%? For business books, I'm guessing at the low end of the spectrum. Undoubtedly it's higher for entertaiment media like music and movies.

outland88




msg:4270707
 7:49 pm on Feb 22, 2011 (gmt 0)

The problem is too many major search engines are tolerant of web sites that are blatantly involved in theft of multiple kinds. Why, because to a great degree they profit from it directly or indirectly. It goes without saying that Google Adsense is going to be tacted on to many of these sites. When the government starts fining these major corporations for allowing it and also sees it as stream of tax revenue this stuff will evaporate. We need a whole new way of thinking about theft on the Internet and governments should become as opportunistic at making money off the thieves as they do at taxing the honest. Let the thieves sue for their rights. The minute they walk into court the trapdoor under their feet opens.

Petrogold




msg:4270877
 4:14 am on Feb 23, 2011 (gmt 0)

The best solution to this issue "FREE eBook, Do not Sell it" to share knowledge. No will pirate your ebook.

Petrogold




msg:4270878
 4:14 am on Feb 23, 2011 (gmt 0)

Sorry,
The best solution to this issue "FREE eBook, Do not Sell it" to share knowledge. No one will pirate your ebook.

graeme_p




msg:4270906
 6:32 am on Feb 23, 2011 (gmt 0)

No one apart from a few people with money at stake think that copyright infringement is theft. Saying it is will not make it so. It is breaching a government mandated monopoly - morally equivalent to using Skype in a country where there is a monopoly telecoms company.

The sensible thing to do is to extract royalties where money changes hands: it is both fair and enforceable.

scooterdude




msg:4270972
 11:03 am on Feb 23, 2011 (gmt 0)

Did anyone here enjoy watching, the Starwars series, did anyone here watch titanic, did anyone here enjoy the Predator series,,,

Does anyone here know how may lively hoods are directly tied into the media industries in the western Economies, movies, digital editing, comics, art, photography, magazines, pensions based on the shares in those companies,

Imagine all these people trying to exist on web advertising income, the maths don't work

Guardian newspaper in UK loses money on world wide turnover on
£300 million +

Copyright an intellectual will be defended, and methinks the tech and laws to make mass enforcement feasable will have to be developed as people will be people

Even the web is just a pond

incrediBILL




msg:4271107
 4:14 pm on Feb 23, 2011 (gmt 0)

No one apart from a few people with money at stake think that copyright infringement is theft.


Really?

Infringement is just a nice word used in polite society so that the morally bankrupt people that infringe upon (steal) the work of others don't feel like the lowlife common criminal scumbags they really are.

Every webmaster that gets scraped thinks it's theft, millions of them, not just a few. Let's try a simple test, what's your URL? I'll clone it, outrank you in the SE, and take away your income. Yup, that's some infringement. When you're homeless and can't feed the kids I doubt you'ld say "Sorry children, daddy was infringed upon".

A little bit different than pirating an eBook which is still for sale while also being given away free, but it'll drive the point home.

This 88 message thread spans 3 pages: 88 ( [1] 2 3 > >
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