Tuesday, May 12, 2009

E-books, Pirates and Writers

There's an interesting article here on writers and pirated books.

At one end of the spectrum you have people like Harlan Ellison, who pursues literary pirates with avengeance. At the other end you have Cory Doctorow, who defeats the pirates by offering free digital versions of his books, when they come out.

I love his quote. 'I really feel like my problem isn't piracy, it's obscurity!'


Dave Freer said...

"piracy" is such a stupidly innaccurate term for what is at worst petty theft. The virulent squalls about it are IMO scapegoating by the corporates concerned for bad effects of their own excessive greed and stupidity. Be clear on this - unless the downloader would absolutely definitely have bought the copy at full price if he had not downloaded it free, the company lost.... NOTHING. They actually gained a bit in terms of publicity and exposure. So saying the company lost x billion dollars to pirated softwaré/music/movies/ books is totally inaccurate and disengenious bordering on the outright dishonest.
The cure for 'piracy' is 'cheap and easily available in good quality'.
Funny, every company that tries that, (Baen) it works fine for.

John Lambshead said...

An industry that hates, fears and prosecutes its customers has no future.


Dave Freer said...

Bravo, John! encore! well said. I would add 'despises' as well as 'hates' its customers.

Rowena Cory Daniells said...

That's a really good point, Dave.

If people weren't going to buy the book at full price, then downloading it is a plus!

This is also Cory Doctorow's attitude and I think he's right.

And LOL, John. That's like something that happened here, in Brisbane.

The trains weren't running on time. And the the rail company said, 'The trains would all run on on time, if it weren't for the customers.' Those pesky commuters, getting in the way of an efficient rail service!!