I recently read about eBook piracy and apparently there is a lot of "piracy" taking place. Here's my take on the subject. If someone downloads or copies an eBook without paying for it then they are stealing. Taking someone's property, including intellectual property, without their knowledge and consent is by definition theft. That makes anyone who takes an eBook without paying a thief; yes a thief. They are taking money from someone's pocket and it is usually directly from the author. My eBooks all sell for less than $3.50 as do most eBooks. If someone can afford an e-Reader they can probably afford to pay to add books to their library. They might also get legitimate free downloads during book promotions. If someone can't afford to pay for the books they want to read then at least they should go to their public library and borrow an eBook. The library can afford to buy a library copy so the author gets something. P.S. Most libraries buy books at a large discount; even eBooks.
What do you think about piracy?
This comment ties in to what I was saying about the evil nature of existing copyright law earlier.
Another problem with it is that it's used to keep developing nations down, imposing restrictions on them under threat from the IMF and World Bank, but NONE of the developed nations obeyed those same restrictions during their rise to power.
Restrictions on protective tariffs, intellectual property law enforcement, (such as collection of royalties on GM crops that native farmers inadvertently raise), it all serves the same purpose - raising the bar of entry to markets in order to protect the vested interests of the Northern Hemisphere's mega corporations. The undeclared war on the poor.
I truly believe that existing Copyright law is one of the pillars of an international order that keeps the rich rich and the poor poor. It's a weapon of the 1% against the rest of us. I'm not saying these people are necessarily evil, but in representing a system that creates artificial scarcity in order to benefit the few at the expense of the many, they are opponents of the common good. To the extent that others buy into the big lie represented by our current way of doing things, so are they.
By turning the ownership of ideas and their expression into an issue of property, they've successfully diverted the attention of the masses from recognizing it as an aspect of "the tragedy of the commons" that's taking place internationally on a whole host of fronts, but not everyone is fooled.
The situation today is analogous to the situation before the French Revolution and the U.S. Declaration of Independence, only instead of the European Nobility, it's an elite group of international merchants on the side opposing freedom.
What's at stake hasn't changed at all, we've just exchanged one set of masters for another, and people are only gradually waking up to that fact because of the immense complexity of our international systems.
But they are waking up.
This time though, instead of a violent revolution occurring in one country, people all over the world - many of whom have already pretty much disengaged from the traditional political process, but including many who haven't - are pulling together to create a parallel or "meta-system" that works within the old, by creating legal entities, licensing schemes, "fair trade" businesses, non-profits and lobbying groups to address specific aspects of the existing system that are failing.
At some point in the relatively near future, this nascent underground movement will burst into the collective awareness as a force (or a collection of forces) to be reckoned with, but until then the powers-that-be remain blissfully unaware or if aware, dismissive of the signs.
It's easy to ridicule groups like Anonymous, the Occupy Movement, and organizations like the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Creative Commons, Avaaz.com and other activist groups, but they exist because the system is flawed. When fewer and fewer people bother to vote in our democracies, and billions of others labor in poverty or bondage, the legitimacy of the current system is bound to be called into question.
A "Boston Tea Party" moment has yet to occur that once again dumbs the issues down enough for the masses to get pissed and rally, but it's either unnecessary or only a matter of time. Plenty of people are working towards it in the hopes of being ready to lead the way to true freedom for all.
I know these seem like radical ideas to introduce into a debate about "piracy", but it's all a part of the same current in the collective unconscious, and relatively few have noticed.
I hope this makes some sort of sense. It's difficult to do these ideas justice in such a limited format. It would really take a library to adequately explain and give references. This is something that's taken me over a decade to even begin to understand, though plenty of people were "there" before I stumbled onto the scene.
The concept of property rights is really not that complicated. You create it you own it. In a world where everything is free there is no freedom! Socialism, communism, and anarchy don't work as any student of history knows. Capitalism and democracy do and that's why America is the envy of the world and why all those who are willing to work want to come here.
Our success as a nation and as individuals is also why we are hated by those who support systems that don't work and those who don't want to build a better life but have an attitude of entitlement. We work to support ourselves and when we have excess to share with others less fortunate we do so as we are led by our conscience. As a country and as individuals we give more in foreign aid and to charities than any other nation.
I have literally given away hundreds of eBooks and as I created the work that is my right. It is not someone's right to break into my "store" and steal it. If my books don't belong to me then your computer doesn't belong to you. It is an extension of the same logic against ownership rights. It's really not complicated
It's not the same thing as a computer and you know it. A computer is a physical object. Anyhow DRM as a copyright-protection scheme does try to tell us what we can do with our computers. Read up on it, dude.
The idea of ownership of physical goods has existed since the dawn of recorded history. Copyright evolved from an attempt by the European governments and the Catholic Church to control the output of printers by requiring licenses to print books, granting monopolies, and granting them only under strict conditions. It was about censorship and control of the medium, not protecting authors.
In this age, after centuries of evolution, it's a far more complicated issue than you warrant. The avowed reason for most regulation is to benefit the common good, yet Copyright law clearly fails in this regard by robbing "the Commons", and its other avowed rationale - that of fostering innovation - is also patently false. *rimshot*
It may be that Copyright is actually a good idea, but the way it is currently used is not. Unfortunately the mega-corporations that control the lobbies with the most influence on IP law are only interested in protecting their profits, at the expense of humanity in general, and future generations in particular.
I'm not advocating breaking the law here, though. Widespread piracy is not an answer. While I think the system is broken, it IS the only system we've got, and dismantling it without putting something else in place would be irresponsible. What I'm advocating - indeed watching evolve - is not socialism or communism, and is only anarchy in a very limited sense, since it makes use of existing laws to function while using those same - legal - means to create a better system.
People in other countries don't hate the United States because of their success. They're hated because of a long history of using brutal tactics to deny people in other parts of the world the opportunity to succeed. They're hated for obscene hypocrisy, touting freedom while instigating everything from the assassination of democratically elected leaders in other countries, to supporting oppressive regimes, to playing fast and loose with the lives of the less fortunate by engaging in "proxy wars" in Asia and imposing sanctions.
They're hated for promoting freedom in their media while ignoring or even supporting oppression in other countries. For not holding true to the high ideals they profess to represent. For the most part, it's not the American people of the present day who are hated in any personal sense, but their successive government's policies over the course of generations.
For the record, I personally do NOT hate the United States, I view them affectionately, and with a certain grudging admiration, like a friend whose flaws one accepts because one understands the good intentions underlying them.
Anyhow, to get back to the piracy discussion, yes capitalism and democracy "work" but only in a limited sense. The collapse of the Soviet Union and the fall of the Berlin Wall were not a "triumph of democracy", but the breaking of the weakest link in a chain that includes our democracies.
The present system is unsustainable. You can point at past triumphs all you want, but by any sane measure the United States is bankrupt and the world economy is in a shambles, constantly teetering on the edge of a collapse only forestalled by increasingly desperate measures. This is a system that has worked, but is no longer.
The fix isn't more of the same. We've already done that, that's how we got here.
You speak as if democracy and capitalism are one and the same, and by capitalism it seems you mean the neo-conservative Ayn Rand-embracing romanticized notion of the rugged individual beholden to nobody and ennobled by his or her own selfishness. This might be an emotionally satisfying point of view, but the evidence to support it is shaky. Again, that ideal is largely responsible for the mess we're in, economically, environmentally and morally.
I do agree that you are entirely within your rights to determine how your own work is distributed, where copyright law really falls apart for me is in the transfer of rights after your demise to third parties, or your works slipping into a legal limbo because ownership is muddled and corporate lobbies have created a morass of regulation that consigns huge swaths of past generations' work to the scrap heap because it's unusable.
I've also seen strong evidence to support the contention that "copy-left" licensing actually increases profits for authors in the realm of digital publishing.
All that aside, the solutions I and others are proposing aren't actually as radical as the ideas underlying them, and should appeal to the rugged individualist as much as the wannabe communist.
All I'm saying is that governments world-wide have dropped the ball, so it's up to us as individuals to pick it up. I'm not talking about destroying anything, but taking back our power as individuals and not waiting for solutions from on high that will never come, but building something new.
Left wing, right wing, capitalist, communist, liberal, conservative - these labels are part of the smoke-screen that allows people to label the "other" and keeps them invested in the group-think of a failed system.
The current system of international governance and economic policy is like a car that's run out of gas on a hill. Most of the passengers won't notice that the engine's off until it reaches the bottom and rolls to a stop.
It's your call. I'm really just exploring ways of explaining this. Thanks.
I think it's both unfair and I also agree that even if they are getting it for free, these people are reading these authors and if they love them they're telling others about it... thus hopefully giving FREE "PR" to these authors as well. Which in the end will probably help boost up the authors book sales in the future. I know I've been given a few free ebooks from authors and as gifts and such.... and I basically review and promote books I love "Hey you GOTTA read this it's awesome." and stuff like that... So even though some are getting these books for free somehow.... it could potentially be beneficial to the author in the long run. I mean that's my opinion coming from a blogger, avid reader, and aspiring author ya know.
I posted this link in an earlier response, but I'll post it again here because it's relevant to what you've said.
This guy is selling a program on how to promote books online and wants people to sign up for his video seminars etc., so take it with a grain of salt, but he insists that a free release period is not only beneficial but vital to maximize online sales with amazon/kindle.
He's running an experiment in trying to get a brand new ebook up to 100 sales a month, and posting his results as he goes.
Here's the link: http://www.numberonebooksystem.com/kindle-challenge/
If you watch the videos he explains exactly how he does it, with first-day sales of around 20 copies.
Correction (lol I finally watched the videos):
He was trying to get a brand new book to number one in its chosen keywords within a week, and succeeded. If you search on "vertical gardening" it's at the top.
The 100 books a month thing is actually "100 books a day" and is another one of his projects.
Michael I think I should mention that while I do feel strongly about some of the ideas I've expressed, any animosity that may have been implied belongs in the realm of "meme warfare" and is directed towards the opposing concepts, not the people presenting them. It certainly isn't meant to be personal in any way.
I don't require that acquaintances (or friends, for that matter) subscribe to my viewpoint. I'd be a very lonely man were that the case.
So while I do express strong opinions, and my actions tend to reflect those opinions in terms of political and economic activity, I don't view the individuals with opposing viewpoints as enemies by any stretch of the imagination. Our ideas may be at odds, but I still believe in the basic goodness of human nature and that most of us are just trying to do what we think is right. As long as nobody's pointing guns at anyone, I'm content to disagree but find ways to get along.
I realize I can come across as a bit of a nut when I get in full rant mode, which lack of sleep and too much coffee tends to trigger with embarrassing regularity these days.
This is just to acknowledge that I do respect your point of view and thank you for taking the time to express it, and for opening this discussion in the first place.
Hey Darryl I'm cool! We have freedom of speech here and we should be able to have opposing views without animosity. I am rather enjoying reading the responses. I don't think you're "a bit of a nut" just opinionated and as far as I'm concerned that's OK.