Midlist Authors & Online Piracy

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H

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« Reply #15 on: August 03, 2017, 10:42:16 am »
Damn it, I really didn't want to be in this topic, but here I am, devil's advocate.

Let me start off by saying that I don't really agree with most of what I am about to say, but the issue is really not as simple, I don't think.

I'm curious how you can get away with justifying that piracy is not theft because "nothing physical is taken".
That only makes sense if you believe that the issue has nothing to do with payment. Theft if taking something without paying, not simply removing something from anothers possession without permission.

When you wrongfully take something without paying, it's stealing, that's pretty basic. How does a taking a digital item from a digital store make a difference.

Well, of  course theft can be removing something from someone's possession without permission.  If that wasn't the case, no one could ever steal something from a private party, because that party never had it for sale.

The difference, and where things are less clear when it comes to digital content, is that fact that really nothing is taken.  It isn't a zero sum game here, so where with any physical object someone taking something is a loss on the other party's part, a digital object is often quite different.  What is really at issue isn't theft, or stealing, it is unlawful duplication and distribution.

Consider, if I payed for a music CD, then make 100 copies and gave them to everyone I know, did I steal anything?  Did the people who got a copy steal anything?  No one has lost anything.

To me, by that logic, if someone took all the money from your bank account, it's not stealing because it's all just 1s and 0s? How is pirating a song any different?
It's called "getting your identity stolen" when someone gets enough digital info on you to buy stuff with your name. Is that not stealing? Again, how is that different than stealing an album?
For that matter, taking a record from a store is stealing, but as soon as it's online it's somehow not?

Again, there is the issue of the Zero Sum here.  If someone changes your bank account from $1,000 to $0 and their own from $0 to $1,000, there is certainly an issue that property that was had lawfully by one party is no longer in their possession.  Again though, if I had a CD I purchased, and someone makes a copy (perhaps while I was not looking) did they steal from me?  I still have mine and now they have one too.  The Zero Sum is violated, no property changed hands.

Idenity "theft" is really just fraud though, so I am not sure that just the fact that we use "theft" and "stolen" colloquially to refer to it, doesn't really mean that someone literally takes away possession of you identity.  You still have your own social security number, but someone else is fraudulently using it.

Argue that it's helpful if you want, but let's all call it what it is. Plain and simple, if someone is doing it, they're a thief. If that's not the case, please enlighten me.
If someone decides to give away their stuff for free and you get it, then you aren't pirating it. But otherwise, yes, that's theft.

I don't know.  Is there something unlawful going on?  Yes.  Does giving the simple label of theft make it a simple issue?  I don't know about that.

Interestingly enough, I think this is sort of the thing that Bakker talks about as a "crash space," a place where technology has us in a position where our language and our thinking don't really line up to the technological reality...
“I am a warrior of ages, Anasűrimbor . . . ages. I have dipped my nimil in a thousand hearts. I have ridden both against and for the No-God in the great wars that authored this wilderness. I have scaled the ramparts of great Golgotterath, watched the hearts of High Kings break for fury.” -Cet’ingira

Wilshire

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« Reply #16 on: August 03, 2017, 02:34:56 pm »
I just don't get it. Yes, absolutely you are stealing when duplicate something and give it away unlawfully. Semantics all you want, you are taking money from the bank account of the person that would have been paid. The duplicate and the receiver are equally stealing.

There is no difference been that and someone removing money from your account. You can argue that it's not a dollar for dollar exchange, and I agree. But it's still theft, whether or not you are justifying it by "I wouldn't have bought it if it wasn't free". Just like if you go to the store and can't afford it, you simply don't get it.

No, it's not different. There is a manufacturing chain that produces the thing you are stealing. If that chain is physical people and plants that make the widget, the transaction at the end is still what pays all those people. Remove the transaction, no one gets paid.

 There is no difference if the manufacturing process is now digital, in both cases another one "can be made for free" from the thief's perspective. The origin, in the case of a widget, is usually some kind of patent which leads back to the inventors brain. The origin of a piece of media is still the brain of someone. There is no justification that makes sense that removes theft from the equation there.

It's just people pretending they aren't stealing because it's hard to look at yourself and admit it. Replicating paintings has always been theft, whether by hand or taking a picture. It's built into the fabric of him interaction, the difference between mine and yours, right and wrong. Fundamentally there is not change from physical to digital.
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Somnambulist

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« Reply #17 on: August 03, 2017, 04:55:20 pm »
This is a general statement of my feelings on this issue, and not directed at any one single person.  Just saying.

I feel like the argument for relaxing IP laws is a fundamentally entitled point of view.  Simply because something is digital and therefore more easily duplicated has no bearing on how much effort the creator put into whatever the product happens to be.  Because it's easier to copy a Kindle file than it is to transcribe a printed novel, it somehow makes it okay to appropriate that work without paying for it?  Or any other number of so-called reasons for what amounts to stealing?  Bullshit rationalizations is all I hear, ever.

Try spending an hour, a day, a week, a month, a year, a decade creating something, something you made with your own blood, sweat and tears, time, talent and sacrifices, only to have some jackass fucking get it for free.  See where you fall on this argument after that.

If you didn't create it, it's not fucking yours, and if you want it, pay for it.

Rant over.
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MisterGuyMan

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« Reply #18 on: August 04, 2017, 11:00:18 am »
To clarify here, MGM, you're not just saying people can only spend so much - it's that they can only spend so much and then they can keep getting more than what they've paid for, because they can only spend so much?
I'm a proponent of free markets.  A buyer's position is to buy what's in their best interest.  A seller's position is to entice a buyer to buy the seller's goods.  When those two interests intersect, we have a transaction.  I elaborate a bit on why I view copyrights and piracy unconventionally in a response to some one else below.

Quote
But which is it, businessman or artist? Granted the current system has some staff at a publishing house to get past in order to be published, but apart from that a fair amount of artistic integrity is supported. How is artistic integrity maintained with self publishing, apart from appealing to an echo chamber (arguably zero artistic integrity at that point)? You can write what you want and be ignored, rather than engage thinking minds in the publishing industry and maybe get broadcast to people who would have otherwise ignored you?
I don't believe I understand your question.  Artists create the content.  Businessmen sell the content.  There can be as much or as little overlap as there are artists.  You can write a beautiful manuscript and store it in your chest drawer for eternity.  Others sell literal pieces of crap as artwork. We live in a system of capitalism where effort alone doesn't guarantee a buyer.  The ability to create art doesn't necessitate the ability to monetize it.   

I also try to avoid judging what people buy.  It's their money.  So if people want to buy echo chamber fiction as you call it, then what's that to me?  Not sure if that addresses your point but I tried.

(click to show/hide)
Theft is different from piracy specifically because you theft actual removes possession.  That's the legal distiction and one that can't be ignored in any real world discussion of piracy.  If I email you a news article, that's piracy.  If I lend you my newspaper that's lending. 

I also don't think I have to justify anything.  I'm going to assume that we agree that piracy is theft of ideas.  Copying is a bedrock of human interaction.  If you went back a few hundred years and told people that it's immoral to copy things, I'm fairly certain they would look at you funny.

Here's another way to look at the issue:
https://muse.jhu.edu/article/481096
Sorry but I'm on my phone on vacation which makes citations difficult and I can't cite the normal article links I have saved.  The basic point is that everyone commits piracy all the time the way copyright law is currently written.  We don't even need to get into legalities by examining fair use.  The problem lies in merely defining copyright as a concept.  Copyright, if you want to call it theft, is stealing ideas.  So first let's put aside legalities.  How would any society work if no one were allowed to copy ideas.  There's a reason copyright was only created with the invention of the printing press and a select few gatekeepers could, with the advent of new technology, control how certain materials were copied.  Copyright was an invention to censure books FYI not as a tool to protect creators.  Even in this discussion you copy my writing each time you reply to me.  What's the moral difference in why you can copy my messages without compensating me? 

Here's my personal example I always cite.  I love to eat sushi.  There's some guy in California that invented the Caliroll.  So some one copied that idea then some one else until today everyone freely makes Calirolls whenever they want.  If I went to that guy's restaurant and stole physical Sushi, that's theft.  Using your position and if I take the idea of a Caliroll by making one at my house, is that stealing too?  That physical copy is an important distinction.  Are we morally obligated to look at everything we consume and trace back every way something was copied from something else?  I assume we both view theft as immoral.  So if we define copyrights, which legally expre, as a moral issue, when does the immorality of copying an idea expire?

Somnambulist

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« Reply #19 on: August 04, 2017, 02:01:43 pm »
lol I obviously can't engage this topic on a rational level, so showing myself the door.
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MSJ

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« Reply #20 on: August 04, 2017, 02:53:13 pm »
But, there is another side of this you guys dont see and i will use an example from my own real life. When i got into fantasy and after finishing ASOIAF then TSA, i didnt know what to read. Everyone kept telling me to try Malazan, then everyone said it sucked and they couldn't understand it. So, i pirated it, The Gardens of the Moon, that is. And, said to myself if i like it cool if not ill just delete the file. I like it, alot. So, i went to Amazon and purchased every single Malzan written and still do to this day. Ive done this with other work also. But, always, no matter what, i either delete that shit or i become a paying customer. If i like it, i wanna own it. I want it in my Amazon account so i can read it on a new phone or what have you. Hell, with Malazan im working on buying the HC of each, up to House of Chains now, because those books i love i want a beatiful physical copy of. So, by me "pirating" GotM, ive ended up giving Erikson and Esslemont a shit ton of money. So, there are positives to piracy, no matter how you slice it.

I cant respect those that pirate everything and never pay a damn penny to the artists that create these great works of art. And, no matter what we argue, your not stopping piracy of ebooks. When was the last time someone has been prosecuted for downlowding a book off the internet. And, i don't think it effects sales at all or to much of a degree. The people who pirate just to pirate and thats either their only choice or their just too poor. Would never purchase any of these books anyway. If anything, it might help with making the artist more visible by word of mouth and fandom.

My case of piracy im sure is how alot of people use it. As a way of saying, "Do i wanna use my money on this?". It might be a small %, i dunno.

Is it theft? Sure. But, i dont feel as if ive ever stolen from any author. I would either start reading, not like it at all and delete the file, like perusing at a book store. Or, i become i fan, and said author gets my money everytime they release a new book. Do i feel bad? Nope. I lose no sleep at night, at all.
« Last Edit: August 04, 2017, 03:19:50 pm by MSJ »
“No. I am your end. Before your eyes I will put your seed to the knife. I will quarter your carcass and feed it to the dogs. Your bones I will grind to dust and cast to the winds. I will strike down those who speak your name or the name of your fathers, until ‘Yursalka’ becomes as meaningless as infant babble. I will blot you out, hunt down your every trace! The track of your life has come to me,

Wilshire

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« Reply #21 on: August 04, 2017, 07:15:47 pm »
Part of this issue I think is people not actually talking about the same thing, creating a debate where there really isn't one.

Here's an example :
You work for a store that sells expensive bikes.
You can't afford the bikes, you just work there.
Neither can 10 of your friends, but everyone wants one.
So one day you take 11 bikes, give them to your friends and keep one.
The next day, 11 bikes show back up in the store like nothing happened because the manufacturer restocked them.

Now, you and your friends were never going to buy the bikes. Those bikes are not lost sales. However, you as the employee, and all your friends, did in fact steal the bikes.

Further, the next day, you and your friends decide it would be more fun if more people had bikes.
You all give your bikes to other people.
You get yourself and your friends some more bikes for free.
Again, bikes show back up in the store, you have 11 bikes and now 11 others have bikes. (See, bikes are free, the store shelves are always full!)

So 22 bikes now are out in the world. No lost sales. But all 22 are thieves.

From the perspective of all the people down the chain,
"there's no loss because I wasn't going to buy it anyway".  This if false. Someone made the bikes, they didn't get paid, the store owner didn't get paid, the bike inventor doesn't get paid.
"I'm not a thief". False. You all stole the bikes. Pretty simple there, don't think this needs explained.

It's exactly the same for digital content. The fact that it was made in a computer is irrelevant . The fact that you weren't going to buy it is irrelevant. It's stealing, both as the person who ripped the content and those who received it are thieves.

Again, argue that it's not a total loss or that some people use free distribution to sell stuff. There are arguments and semantics to be played with. But it's always theft.

If the idea of being mugged, or having your house broken  into, or your bank account emptied, is abhorrent to you, then you shouldn't be advocating for the virtues of piracy. Otherwise if it happens to you, someone might just look at you and argue, well all you lost was a specific arrangement of atoms so it doesn't matter - just assemble them again, atoms are free. Or, quarks and gluons pop into and out of existence, you just happen to be experiencing an anomalous poping out all at once - just wait for them to come back, its free.

And, if you are arguing the inventing a sushi roll is equivalent to creating a work of art - like a book or a painting - there's nothing further to talk about as the difference is self evident. I'll then posit that taking money from your bank account is the same as making a sushi roll because [insert flawed logic].
« Last Edit: August 04, 2017, 07:21:23 pm by Wilshire »
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MSJ

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« Reply #22 on: August 04, 2017, 07:25:09 pm »
No, i get that Wilshire. I even admitted it was theft. But, my personal experience of piracy has led to a few authors being endowed with a portion of my earnings. The others i have pirated and started, didn't like, i deleted. Is it morally wrong, i dont think so. Not how i used it. I wont set here and advocate piracy for piracy's sake. But, as i used it, whats the harm?

Also, a library, buys a book once then a thousand people read said book for free. Whats the difference?
“No. I am your end. Before your eyes I will put your seed to the knife. I will quarter your carcass and feed it to the dogs. Your bones I will grind to dust and cast to the winds. I will strike down those who speak your name or the name of your fathers, until ‘Yursalka’ becomes as meaningless as infant babble. I will blot you out, hunt down your every trace! The track of your life has come to me,

Wilshire

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« Reply #23 on: August 04, 2017, 08:28:37 pm »
Also, a library, buys a book once then a thousand people read said book for free. Whats the difference?

Note I am using 'you' generally, not specifically directed at anyone.

Government systems don't play by the rules, for one. But the real difference is they pay for the rights to do that. Everything but everything comes down to money. Same thing with movie theatres.

I'm not disagreeing that sometimes piracy can lead to sales. Nor am I suggesting that IP and copyrights are the only way, or even the best way, to make sure everyone gets their due.

The harm is the same as everything else. Take any system, define it how you want, and assume perfect outcomes and perfect/rational people, and there's nothing wrong with it. But 'people' as a whole are far from ideal. For every person operating altruistically there are many others that do not. People rob the system because its easy, and if you take enough, the whole thing breaks.

The fear that creators have is that there is no reason for anyone to actually pay them for their stuff if everyone gets it for free. This is a very real fear. I'd not be happy to go to work every day if my employer said they weren't going to pay me unless they felt like it, or that I'd only get paid by asking for handouts. I want to get paid for my work - I do this, as a non-creative, by exchanging hours for dollars. No dollars, no hours, and vice versa. Why should people who create not get paid for the things they make? That doesn't check out for me. If you remove the reward mechanism and burry it in tangential things, like praying for donations or 'merchandising', you remove all reason for most people to create. At the very least, there is no longer a reason for someone to create as a living. I'd prefer a society where people are encouraged to create, not disincentive.

Again, that's not to say it's impossible to make money any other way, nor that this is the best way, but the fear of not getting paid is real nonetheless.

Do you think that IP/copyright is the devil and is ruining society? Great. Do something to make it better, don't just rob peter to pay paul. Keyboard-warrioring isn't going to cut it. I know that I'm not willing to do that work, so I pay for the stuff I consume, be it an apple, a book, or a movie.
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MSJ

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« Reply #24 on: August 04, 2017, 08:49:04 pm »
Remind you Wilshire, neither am i disagreeing with you. I feel the same way. I am probably a small subset (though maybe not, who knows how exactly these things work), that uses it as a test run so to say. Do i really want this? Do i wanna fork out $10 for this book. If i dont, i delete the file. I dont have a Google Drive account of hoards of illegally downloaded ebooks. Matter of fact i have none. I read maybe 3 chapters of GotM and went to Kindle and paid for the book. I wanted it, i liked it, i think an artist deserves to be paid for his work, we are in 100% agreement.

I just wonder though. You know there are many people who would love to read many books, but have to make the choice - Do i feeed my kids or buy this book? Would them pirating a book and spreading fandom hurt an author? Dont you think that when the time presented itself they would indeed purchase said book? Maybe, maybe not. But, i guess they could request it from a library and get it that way. I know. Im just looking at it through all posssible angles.
« Last Edit: August 04, 2017, 09:22:48 pm by MSJ »
“No. I am your end. Before your eyes I will put your seed to the knife. I will quarter your carcass and feed it to the dogs. Your bones I will grind to dust and cast to the winds. I will strike down those who speak your name or the name of your fathers, until ‘Yursalka’ becomes as meaningless as infant babble. I will blot you out, hunt down your every trace! The track of your life has come to me,

Callan S.

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« Reply #25 on: August 05, 2017, 07:20:06 am »
Also, a library, buys a book once then a thousand people read said book for free. Whats the difference?

As I understand it libraries participate in a royalty system where the author gets a little bit of money for each lend. Radio stations do the same for songs played.

Callan S.

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« Reply #26 on: August 05, 2017, 07:31:23 am »
To clarify here, MGM, you're not just saying people can only spend so much - it's that they can only spend so much and then they can keep getting more than what they've paid for, because they can only spend so much?
I'm a proponent of free markets.  A buyer's position is to buy what's in their best interest.  A seller's position is to entice a buyer to buy the seller's goods.  When those two interests intersect, we have a transaction.  I elaborate a bit on why I view copyrights and piracy unconventionally in a response to some one else below.

If someone sneaks into a performance, do you feel that's legitimate and not theft? You seemed an advocate for performances before, so I'm guessing you don't advocate for sneaking into them?

But to use your own argument, nothing is taken if I sneak into a performance - they were still going to perform. What's wrong with me sneaking in and getting entertained for free? Why is that not legitimate, but the performance that is a book - people can sneak in to that performance and that is okay?

The only argument you've got left is you could buy a book and then lend the physical performance that it is to someone else. But the speed at which that works - one bought copy maybe taking several days to be read, then lent to another, it's slow. If you were advocating 'pirating' by lending bought, singular physical works, I wouldn't really call it pirating (maybe Scott would, dunno. Never know with that guy when it comes to an assumption), thus I use scare quotes.

So, do you think sneaking into performances is okay? Surely nothing is taken if you sneak into a performance?

MSJ

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« Reply #27 on: August 05, 2017, 08:18:57 am »
Quote from:  Callan S
As I understand it libraries participate in a royalty system where the author gets a little bit of money for each lend. Radio stations do the same for songs played.

Gotcha. But, as you pointed out in your next post what about me buying TUC and lending it out to 10 people? Nothing illegal about it, yet people are getting the content for free. This conversation is a circle i believe.
“No. I am your end. Before your eyes I will put your seed to the knife. I will quarter your carcass and feed it to the dogs. Your bones I will grind to dust and cast to the winds. I will strike down those who speak your name or the name of your fathers, until ‘Yursalka’ becomes as meaningless as infant babble. I will blot you out, hunt down your every trace! The track of your life has come to me,

Wilshire

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« Reply #28 on: August 05, 2017, 04:25:43 pm »
I wonder how creators think of second hand markets. Used video game stores, used book stores, ebay. Legality and copyright etc. etc. aside, how is a 'legit' second hand markets viewed from their side? It's functionally not much different than pirating in terms of funds paid to the creator, or is it? Im honestly not sure.
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Callan S.

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« Reply #29 on: August 07, 2017, 07:56:24 am »
Quote from:  Callan S
As I understand it libraries participate in a royalty system where the author gets a little bit of money for each lend. Radio stations do the same for songs played.

Gotcha. But, as you pointed out in your next post what about me buying TUC and lending it out to 10 people? Nothing illegal about it, yet people are getting the content for free. This conversation is a circle i believe.

You seem to be saying that where it is legal and permitted by the author to share the content for free that means you can share it in ways that aren't legal and aren't permitted by the author. That makes no sense. How on earth does an example that is legal and permitted make an argument for doing something that is illegal and not permitted?