ENTRIES TAGGED "piracy"

Copying is a fact, not a problem

Cory Doctorow says the problem we really need to solve is how to make money when copying happens.

Piracy and DRM continue to be hot-button issues for authors and publishers, with heated arguments on both sides of the fence. I sat down with author Cory Doctorow at TOC NY 2013 to talk about the issues and how we as an industry will move beyond the conflict.

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Ebooks and the future of research

Society cannot afford to lose its distributed knowledge backup system

Knowledge cannot progress unless it is aware of its past: a knowledge-seeker must reference the works of previous generations. Literary scholars return to manuscripts, musicians to partitions, artists to museums…

The continued availability of reference works underpins our entire research system. It has become so ingrained in our methods that it barely registers on our list of values to uphold. Yet, that very availability has dissolved into a mirage, to surprisingly little protest.

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Publishing News: The piracy debate may well be irrelevant in the future of publishing

"Artisan authors" move beyond the piracy "problem," libraries of books become libraries of knowledge, and newspapers have space for rent.

Here are a few stories from the publishing space that caught my attention this week.

Authors may leave publishers behind to wallow in piracy concerns

The publishing industry’s issues with piracy may become a problem of the past, Damien Walter observed at The Guardian this week. Walter looks at a newly emerging “artisan author,” an author for whom “self-publishing is a preference and file-sharing is an opportunity.”

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Liability vs. leverage

How writers lose when "piracy" gets harder

[Editor's note: Be sure to catch Cory Doctorow's opening keynote at next month's TOC Author (R)evolution Day in NY.]

How much will your publisher pay you?

There’s a short, easy answer to this: as little as they can. Not because they’re heartless monsters, but because businesses pay as little as they can for their supplies, and charge as much as they can for their products*.

But that’s an abstract answer. The more concrete one — exactly how much will your publisher pay you? — hinges on how many other people have books that can fill the same niche for the publisher, and how many other publishers there are looking to fill that niche. In other words, the amount you get turns on supply and demand.

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Publishing News: Hacking DRM is now illegal in Canada

New Canadian copyright legislation takes effect, an author helps pirate his book, and studies show computers topping preferred ereading platforms.

Here are a few stories from the publishing space that caught my attention this week.

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TOC’s Global Ebook Market report

The only resource you need for current conditions & future projections

One year ago we published the first edition of our Global Ebook Market report. We focused on the major English language territories but also featured coverage of several other popular languages as well.

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The complex world of copyright, licensing, and piracy

The complex world of copyright, licensing, and piracy

Bill Rosenblatt untangles several thorny areas of IP distribution and ownership

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Our TOC theme this month is “legal” and I thought it would be interesting to have a conversation with Bill Rosenblatt covering a variety of topics in the legal realm. Bill is a recognized authority on intellectual property in the online world. He’s also an author of the Copyright and Technology blog as well as the founder of GiantSteps Media Technology Strategies.

Key points from the interview include:

  • Copyright vs. Creative Commons — As Bill says, “copyright law is a huge mess”, and Creative Commons (CC) is a viable alternative. CC has never fully embraced the commercial content community though. CC also doesn’t really make enforcement of IP ownership any easier.
  • Libraries and sales vs. licensing — I feel our industry is overcomplicating the library channel situation but Bill explains how digital content isn’t subject to copyright but rather to whatever licensing terms are being offered. Bill feels libraries are “screwed” unless there’s a change in the law. It doesn’t help that libraries aren’t accustomed to trying to operate like businesses.
  • First-sale doctrineReDigi is a great example of a company that’s pushing the envelope on sale vs. licensing of content. Bill feels it’s unlikely ReDigi will prevail in the current litigation to resell digital music. (See related TOC article here.)
  • Piracy — Bill points out that obscurity is indeed a bigger problem than piracy…until you become famous. He asserts that Lady Gaga doesn’t benefit from piracy but I’m not sure I agree. After all, maybe future paying Gaga fans start off pirating a song or two before they get hooked.

This post is part of the TOC podcast series. You can also subscribe to the free TOC podcast through iTunes.

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Piracy, pricing, and ebook hoarding

How is ebook pricing changing our behavior?

I was on a conference call recently talking about piracy with Joe Karaganis, Brian O’Leary and Ruediger Wischenbart. At one point someone mentioned that piracy can be avoided when content is made available at a reasonable price and in all convenient formats. That begs the question: What’s a “reasonable price”?

I asked the group if they felt $9.99 is the answer. All three of them said that’s too high. Maybe we’re too focused on the 99-cent phenomenon and, of course, it’s hard to state a “reasonable” price when talking generally about all types of books (e.g., trade, technical, etc.) Nevertheless, it’s disturbing to think that the future of ebooks features a race to zero on pricing.

As long as publishers are offering nothing more than quick-and-dirty p-to-e conversions we can’t really expect consumers to pay more, especially since the e-version loses functionality (e.g, lending restrictions, can’t resell). I mentioned when richer products arrive and they leverage the device capabilities they won’t have to be as cheap as the quick-and-dirty conversions. Joe and Brian weren’t very optimistic about that. Brian pointed out that $9.99 has become such a standard in consumers’ heads that it will be hard to break that price point.

Joe then brought up a very interesting point: Pirates tend to be ebook hoarders. He noted that the definition of  a “personal collection” has changed from dozens or hundreds to thousands of titles.

That’s when I remembered that I’m an ebook hoarder too. Low ebook prices have caused me to change my behavior. When a book is $9.99 or less I don’t even think twice about clicking the buy button. The result? I now have more unread ebooks on my Nook than I ever had before. And the number is growing. Every week. I’m heading towards a situation where one day I’ll have bought far more ebooks than I can read in the rest of my life and I’ll bet I’m not alone.

What we’re creating here is a world where lots of content is purchased but much of it is never read. Is that really what we want? Is there actually a benefit to publishers and authors when consumers pay a higher price and therefore have more skin in the game?

Consider these purely hypothetical scenarios:

    • Scenario #1: An ebook is priced at $1, sells 100 copies but only 3 buyers actually read it.
    • Scenario #2: That same ebook is instead priced at $20, sells only 5 copies but every customer reads it.

Which scenario do you prefer as publisher/author, especially if you’re looking to sell the next book in the series?

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Publishing News: No dismissal for Apple, Macmillan and Penguin

Publishing News: No dismissal for Apple, Macmillan and Penguin

A request to dismiss is denied, an attempt to end Internet piracy, and a look at reading behaviors.

Updates on the DOJ and antitrust lawsuits against Apple, Macmillan and Penguin; Russian startup Pirate Pay targets BitTorrent file sharing; and Steve Rubel muses on digital media, social sharing and news consumption.

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Creativity isn't one size fits all, so why is copyright?

Creativity isn't one size fits all, so why is copyright?

Google's Bill Patry on market signals and copyright terms.

In this video interview, Bill Patry, senior copyright counsel at Google, addresses the one-size-fits-all concept and says it doesn't make sense for copyright terms. He also talks about piracy and whether or not we should eliminate copyright.

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