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  1. #1
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    Piracy...

    Ok, so in the Books forum ( http://www.mysticwicks.com/showthrea...90#post2264090 ) the issue came up of copyright infringement and piracy regarding a certain book, which is still under copyright and in print, having been scanned and made available to the public on the internet.

    Now, I know that in the music industry, with big record labels, the artists really don't make *that* much money from the sale of cds, rather the record label makes the money, and artists usually make the big bucks by going on tour. Thus, some artists have adopted an indifferent stance towards piracy of their music, or even encourage it, because it gets their name out there, gives them exposure, and more exposure means more people will be interested in attending their concerts. You'll note that the recording companies are the ones who pursue piracy the most. (Though this is not the case for independent labels and local bands-- the artist usually makes money directly from cd sales...)

    So, I was wondering about books. The author of the book in question said he had resigned himself to thinking of it as a compliment, since he couldn't effectively address the issue. Now here comes my questions (I know, long lead-in): What would YOU say about YOUR books being scanned and made available to the public (for free; obviously it's a different issue if they're selling it)? Would this change if, say, it was a book you'd written thirty years ago? Do you make money off of individual book sales, or is it primarily exposure and you make the bulk of your money off book-signings, lectures, etc.? Do you think the answer would change if you had a different publisher?

    Just wondering.

    Thanks!
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  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dawa Lhamo
    Ok, so in the Books forum ( http://www.mysticwicks.com/showthrea...90#post2264090 ) the issue came up of copyright infringement and piracy regarding a certain book, which is still under copyright and in print, having been scanned and made available to the public on the internet.

    So, I was wondering about books. The author of the book in question said he had resigned himself to thinking of it as a compliment, since he couldn't effectively address the issue. Now here comes my questions (I know, long lead-in):

    What would YOU say about YOUR books being scanned and made available to the public (for free; obviously it's a different issue if they're selling it)?
    I'd immediately turn them over to my publisher and take them down as hard and fast as I could. This is intellectual theft and whether authors make lots of money (most don't, trust me) off their books, no one has a right to do this. It's copyright infringement and piracy. If I had to, I'd take them to court and sue their asses off.

    Think of it this way, how would you like it if you suddenly were told, "You HAVE to come into work today and I'm not going to pay you for today, or tomorrow, but don't worry--customers will see how hard you work and maybe come back and leave you a tip another time. And it will look good on your resume when you go to look for another job..." Not only that, but they expected you to 'understand' and put up with it? That's very much how this sort of thing feels.

    I've had people post entire CHAPTERS of my work on their sites and I've done everything necessary to get the chapters--or the site if they won't cooperate--taken down before. And ISP can get sued if one of their clients is performing copyright infringement, btw, so an author can contact the ISP if the person running the site won't answer. This piracy does nothing in terms of getting new readers--they just look for more of the work posted on the net. People have gotten it into their heads that artists of any sort can live on air and don't have to spend time on their work, and this is just either stupidity, or willful disregard for another's time, efforts, creativity, and energy expenditure.

    I have no compunction against using magic on them, either, if it comes to that. BIG SOAP BOX ISSUE HERE FOR ME! The only time a chapter of my work goes on line is the first chapter a couple months before the book comes out, and only with the permission of my publisher. And my husband codes it to make it as copy-proof as possible, unless some nutjob wants to sit there and type it in.

    Would this change if, say, it was a book you'd written thirty years ago? Do you make money off of individual book sales, or is it primarily exposure and you make the bulk of your money off book-signings, lectures, etc.? Do you think the answer would change if you had a different publisher?
    Money off exposure? You don't get paid to do book signings. You get paid when a book sells--new copies only (meaning not remaindered or used) and that's it. And royalties are a small percentage of the book's actual price. Most authors barely scrape out a living even if they are writing full-time, a lot of them have day jobs and end up working 80-90 hour weeks because of it, or spouses who work.

    I don't travel much, don't do workshops, etc, except about writing and that doesn't make a lot of money until you're a huge name. And no, big or small publisher, it's just about the same. And if your books don't sell enough new copies, you just stop getting contracts from publishers. Period. It's all dollars and cents at the bottom line.

    If I have a thirty year old book that's out of print, it's my decision whether or not to make it available to the public. I still hold the copyright, and nobody is going to make that decision for me.

    This is a serious issue with almost all of the authors I know--pagan or not--(and I know a lot of them) and one that can tip the scales into a full-blown bitchfest faster than just about anything.

    Yasmine
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    Another perspective on Piracy

    I know it's a tad off-topic, but I thought I ought to point out how damaging software piracy can be, specifically game piracy. I'm going to college for game design and this topic came up in a class today.

    I believe that it was John Carmack, the creator of DOOM, estimated that for every copy of the game purchased, 20 copies were illegally distributed. Piracy of PC games is one of the primary reasons that consoles are favored by developers.

    Piracy played a large part of the death of the Sega Dreamcast because the CDs had no protection.

    Please, don't be a pirate. Not only is it illegal, but it is harmful.

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    Quote Originally Posted by morningstar2651
    I know it's a tad off-topic, but I thought I ought to point out how damaging software piracy can be, specifically game piracy. I'm going to college for game design and this topic came up in a class today.

    I believe that it was John Carmack, the creator of DOOM, estimated that for every copy of the game purchased, 20 copies were illegally distributed. Piracy of PC games is one of the primary reasons that consoles are favored by developers.

    Piracy played a large part of the death of the Sega Dreamcast because the CDs had no protection.

    Please, don't be a pirate. Not only is it illegal, but it is harmful.
    Actually, I consider it quite on topic. My husband works for Microsoft, and piracy overseas is horrendous. Game piracy is really bad and that's why they have to encrypt so damned many things nowadays.

    It doesn't just rip off the company, just as in writing--it rips off the people who create the games because as it eats into profits, pay and benefits go down. Just like with authors--we don't get royalties on any pirated material. And a lot is, overseas and at home.

    If somebody doesn't have the money to buy the book, get it through the library. While royalties on that copy are smaller, at least the author gets some compensation (for that one copy only), and a lot of people can read it for free (and QUIT STEALING FROM LIBRARIES!). Okay, I feel better now.

    Yasmine
    ******************************
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    Urban Fantasy At Its Best
    The OTHERWORLD SERIES & the upcoming
    INDIGO COURT SERIES
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    HARVEST HUNTING: 10.26.2010
    BLOOD WYNE: 2.2011
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    --Contact me via my site or MySpace if you need me.

  5. #5
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    I never quite understood the point of stealing from a library. Why steal something that is free to borrow?

    I shelved books part-time at the public library in my hometown back during high school, and the library has theft detection at the entrance. The library in my fiance's hometown keeps all books on Paganism behind the circulation desk because of a high rate of theft (they don't have theft detection).

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    Well, at the risk of being extremely unpopular in the author's forum, I have to say I disagree with all the fuss about the online piracy of books.

    Most of the people doing it won't buy the book in the first place so if they download it and take a look I can't see that it makes any difference to the real life income level of the author.

    Some people are always going to peruse books and not buy. If they aren't in Borders reading them for free, they are in the library doing the same. I see no difference between someone reading a book they've downloaded and tossing it after, than I do with someone checking it out of the library and reading it and taking it back.

    No sale is involved anyway, so I don't care, and yes, I've had a thing or three published, though not an entire book at this point. I'm working on that, re-editing my first novel at a publisher's request for print, and yes, when it is published given it's a horror genre book, I am sure it will hit the news servers, and I am sure a bunch of people will read it illegally.

    Whatever. I really don't care so long as people are reading it and maybe telling other people about it, and hopefully generating a few sales that way. Yes, I do want to make money writing, but I am not going to get all bent out of shape over sales I probably wouldn't have had anyway.

    Some E book downloads, like music downloads do translate into sales authors and musicians might not have gotten otherwise. I've personally had someone send me a book or a CD several times and tell me to take a look at this author or listen to the musician and yes, I have actually gone out and bought their books and CD's as a direct result of the friend sending me that first CD or book.

    For the record, I've discovered several New Age and Didgeridoo artists this way, people that I likely would not have found otherwise, and I have discovered several writers that I might never have even known about otherwise, Pagan and non. NOW, I support their work, but if it had not been for those bootleg downloads?

    They'd have had a lot less of a royalty check from my own personal purchases I am sure.

    I can't be bothered to hunt through amazon using search after search to find new authors, and to find their "previews" to be honest. It's too time consuming and the format is really annoying besides. I get most of my books either by stumbling across them in a real bookstore, or being tipped by someone on a web board or in a discussion group.

    Now and again, yes, I dl, check a book out, and if I want it on my shelf, I will go out and buy it.

    FYI, 99% of the time I don't keep print copies of the books I buy anyway. Because I have severe dust allergies and the fact that I am loathe to put books in plastic I routinely pdf ALL my new books, save them to CD and donate the books to the local library. It's my way of helping out the local library, shrug.

    Yes, I will occasionally share a low grade pdf with a friend if I think the book is exceptional and warrants a look, with an eye towards their purchasing it, of course. The key word here is "low grade" pdf, IE only readable in a browser, not of a quality good enough for printing, and locked regarding printing besides.

    I don't ul them all over the internet though, my books, and I won't just make them of a quality so that they can be easily distributed.

    I'm all for e-books actually, and being able to purchase them legally in a high grade locked pdf format, but far too often the books (if they are even available in that format) I would like to buy are priced far too high for my budget and are a bit too pricey IMHO given the lack of production costs.

    I'd probably buy more actually if the e-books were reasonably priced and available in a wider distribution pattern. Except in the case of lavishly bound antique volumes which I admittedly have a soft spot for I see no real reason to prefer bound books over pdf format. The paper, ink. and glue they use these days is crap compared to the kind they used to use. It yellows and falls apart far more rapidly and it also attracts book lice and other vermin, and the ink often smells enough to make me sneeze.

    So there you go, there's my middle of the road "Web piracy has it's uses speech." Take it or leave it, but it's my opinion, and I stick by it.

    Bottom line, there are probably 35-50 authors on my shelf today who owe at least part of their paycheck to illegal online downloads. If it wasn't for news group and friends pointing the way? I might not be reading and buying half the authors I do now.
    Last edited by WitchyLady777; November 27th, 2007 at 01:18 AM.

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    I have to agree with Witchlady, I would prefer my book be distributed over the net. It grants exposure, which leads to sales. I know I am gonna be unpopular as well for saying this.. but I tend to download my PC games. If I like them I buy them, if not I delete em.. demo's tend to hold the best and can be misleading... That being said not everyone buys them.. so it could hurt sales, but I think the move toward online gaming has diminished that.. my 1st copy of company of hero's was illegal.. I loved it and wanted to play online.. so I bought it..
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    You can't simply say that people who download books won't buy them. That is not true. People aren't buying them because they're there they're buying them because they want to read them.


    A LOT of work goes into these books and it's unfair to deny them their rightful earnings.

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    The only thing that is going to convince someone to buy something is something about it making them think that they want to actually own it for some reason. Many people, no matter how much they might think they want to read a book simply will not go out and buy it.

    Realistically, if you take away an illegal book download it doesn't change the end result much. Can't find it on the web? They will just grab it at the library or they will hang out at the local bookstore, read it, and then put it back on the shelf.

    I've been on the net since it practically began, and I have actually known a lot of people who pirate things. I'd have to say 90% will not buy, have no intentions of buying, and simply will not be forced into it because of mere scarcity in terms of being able to pirate it. If it comes down to it, they'll do without rather than be forced into buying. If something is not readily available, they will still find a way to have it, use it, then toss it when they don't want it anymore.

    BUT a few, will come and they will read it, and they will decide that they like it, and they will buy it, and even tell others about it, who will also buy it.

    End result, sales will be made from an area where the expectation of actual sales is usually pretty low.

    I have a buddy who is finally getting to be pretty well known as a romance novelist. She used to gripe and groan and go nuts over illegal downloads until she realized one day that she was getting her reputation for being a really good read not in the bookstores where she was out there plugging her books all the time, but because someone had uploaded a bunch of her earlier books to the e-books news groups. Romance readers were seeing her books there and actually coming into the bookstores to hunt her new stuff down because those e-books had whetted their appetite for more! Fact is she wasn't making much from those earlier books because they only came out as a limited release thing, and not that many people saw them. They were actually not re-released outside the monthly book series stuff until people started asking for bound copies of them and her sales started to climb. fact is those books were almost impossible to get, they had so few copies released. So them being placed in a venue where people could dl them and finally read them like that really helped.

    How did she know it was that exposure that made the difference?

    Well because the new fans told her so, and because it was directly after the uploads that her book sales finally surged to the point where she was considered a money-maker by her publisher, something two years of doing book tours had just not done for her.

    I've already told my future publisher I am far more keen on releasing my book via web than in print and we are actually talking about releasing it as a weekly serial thing via website to generate more interest in print copies.

    Let's face it. I am a new author and no one knows my work. The more people that read my book, however it gets read, the more money I will make in the end and unlike some authors who disdain e-book versions I am all for my book being in as many hands as possible in as many formats as possible.

    These days it takes far more than a nice book review and a blurb on the jacket to get your books flying off the shelf.

    I'm willing to bank on e-book formats and on some folks being attracted to my work because of the fact that I am willing to do that.

    Those that don't buy?

    Well, that's their loss, but if one person in 10 who pirates my first book actually buys a copy of that one, or another further down the line?

    Then I am doing pretty good, I think, and I have ultimately accomplished my goal of getting my work out there, of seeing people read it, and of having some actually buy it.

    That's success in my book.

    Last edited by WitchyLady777; November 27th, 2007 at 03:13 AM.

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    I certainly read books (parts of books online). If I'm interested in it, I calculate the cost of printing versus the cost through the bookstore.

    Most of the time, at least for mass-market books, its cheaper to buy it from the bookstore, and its far beter quality than a printout.

    Thus, finding a copy online inspires me to buy it from a store, because I don't like reading from a screen. I like reading from paper and being able to mark and underline as I choose.

    Scholarly books are different, but they're pirated far less often anyway. They're far more expensive, but online they're generally unavailable anyway.

    Exception being journal articles and dissertations, IF you have internet access through a university that subscribes to those services. But dissertations tend not to be published (granted, many exceptions to this, but on the whole, you have to dig for them and few people are making money from them).

    I prefer to have hard copies of things, which means that no matter what avenue I take it will cost me. It is far cheaper to photocopy scholarly books, which I do, frequently. Its interesting, because most of the professors I know will photocopy their own books or encourage students to do so rather than forcing them to pay an outrageous price for the book, a price that the publisher chose, that the professor gets almost nothing from, and is far out or line with what the materials are worth (though I do wish the professors did get more royalties given the years of work that go into some of their books).

    But I also, when possible, like to have digital backups. If its in the right format, its very convenient to do a search on a term that I'm interested in, and that the author might not have thougth to include in the index. Also good in terms of printing out a page and cutting out the relevant paragraph if I'm keeping a journal and commenting on a portion of the text.

    So yes, I download copyrighted material. But 9 times out of 10 it leads me to purchase it.

    Books do get promoted online, and people do purchace based on what they find online. I have to agree with what other people have said, there are a lot of books I wouldn't have even given a second glance to in the bookstores, had I not come across extensive excerpts online.

    That includes a couple of yours Yasmine. The format publishers use to present a lot of books in the Alternate Spirituality genres does not do justice to the material, and the covers tend to cheapen what they actually contain. I don't have time to look through every cheesy cover in the hopes of finding something insightful, and cheesy covers all too often mean cheesy text. Frankly the covers of a number of your books tend to follow the format that means to me "WARNING: POWDERPUFF FLUFF TEXT FULL OF CRAPPY CLICHES" and had I not found the online excerpts I would never in a million years have perused them from the bookstore shelves.

    I understand the problems that exist, but whn your publisher is trying to appeal to the fluffers, it doesn't do your writing justice. It was only the online excerpts that caused me to look more closely.

    Yote

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