General > Author Q&A

Midlist Authors & Online Piracy

<< < (2/12) > >>


--- Quote from: Hiro on August 01, 2017, 08:57:08 am ---As an artist myself, I find this line of reasoning selfserving, to say the least. It's very simple: if you go your local supermarket, you pay for your food, right? And I assume that, whatever work you do, you get paid for that as well, right? Just because something is available on the internet, it does not mean that it is not stealing, or that it won't have that effect. Why do you assume that it is different for artists? Scott has already reflected on the bizarre faults in logic that come with these justifications.

--- End quote ---
I outlined my media consumption habits above and I generally pay for my media.  If anything I'm a collector and pay premiums for collectibles as my various display cases can attest.  So I deny that my arguments are self serving since I don't actually pirate. 

My arguments are based on economics and historic analysis of markets.  As a random person I am an easy person to target rather than addressing my actual points.

As for your analogy you're ignoring a vital difference.  Yes, I do go to a grocery store and pay for my groceries.  If I took them without paying, that's theft.  The difference here is that no physical copy is actually taken.  Suppose we developed the technology to just replicate food like in Star Trek.  Would that be stealing?  That's a closer analogy than stealing food at a supermarket.

Generally I'm a free market proponent.  People like to buy stuff and people like to sell stuff.  Technology changes how this is done but people will still buy and sell stuff.  Yes, piracy is changing the rules of business but this has happened before.  As an example, Edison pirated his favorite concert player and the musician said Edison's invention would lead to the extinction of musicians since he reasoned if people could listen to his music from home, they would never support his concerts.  That technology lead to musicians becoming stars by selling albums and today that industry is declining in favor of concert sales.  So suppose we banned recording technology because of moral reasons.  Do you really think musicians would be better off today? 

Same with Napster which lead to iTunes.  Pirated games also lead to Steam.  Technology moves forward and businesses need to adapt to it.  I refer again to developing markets.  They have lax copyright laws but creators are still finding ways to sell their works.


--- Quote from: MisterGuyMan on August 01, 2017, 12:51:27 pm ---
--- Quote from: Cû'jara-Cinmoi on August 01, 2017, 01:55:53 am --- (click to show/hide)Actually consumers are spending less money--way less in some circumstances. Large musical acts are able to recoup income via concerts, but I have friends in the industry who've sacrificed health and relationships touring and touring endless dives, sometimes glad just to get paid in drinks because of the glut of bands out there. Otherwise, the marketers now utterly rule the mainstream music scene.

Even if your spiked versions of the data that consumers were paying the same were true, that would still count as an economic loss, a year over year loss compounded into a genuine disaster in a mere decade.

The only argument worse than this is the argument that IP is an oppressive and artificial cultural device. All economic norms are oppressive and artificial. Yars just pick and choose those that make them feel better, they way all free-riders do.

Otherwise, who said anything about putting the genie in back in the box? It's about creating a culture that maximizes the number of people who do pay, and dispelling the ridiculous argument that giving away free content actually increases the amount of money ALL artists receive. It may help certain artists in certain circumstances, the same way giving away Toyotas at hockey games helps sell Toyotas. It's proselytizing Yars like you, the ones who think returning to the age patronage is good, 'natural,' and that the vast explosion of professionalized creativity arising out of IP was 'unnatural,' 'oppressive,' bad--YOU are the virus, the one slowly ensuring every piece of content is selling something other than itself, via patronage obligations, or product placement, or the simple terror of doing anything different as a profession.

YOU WOULD NOT HAVE READ A SINGLE ONE OF MY BOOKS, were it not for this oppressive, unnatural system you're decrying.
A few years back my agent asked me to pull together some illegal download numbers for PoN to convince Overlook to lower their kindle price point. So I toured a wide number of sites--those possessing download counters. I stopped once I surpassed the number of books I had actually sold. And this actually helped my sales? Give me a fucking break buddy. Go peddle your self-serving bullshit to someone who doesn't have a family to feed, but wants to feel like they're sticking it to the man taking food out of the mouths of the people they claim to admire and adore. Steal if you want, but stop pretending you're doing good, let alone heeding destiny's call.
--- End quote ---
Before accusing me, a person whose spending habits you have no basis to even speculate on, as the problem, we should actually define the actual problem first.  Worldwide, the amount spent on media has increased 8% (  This outstips Global inflation which hovers around 3.5%.  You argued that the media industry is struggling but I don't actually see much evidence of this.(

Your second main argument is that the goal should revolve around "creating a culture that maximizes the number of people who do pay."  I actually agree with this.  The problem is we do not share basic assumptions.  If anything we're actually close to this "maximize paying" culture or we might be beyond it.  What exactly do you believe such a culture would look like?  Currently in the USA the average American Household carries over $8k in credit card debt and the vast majority do not pay off their balance each month.  I pointed out earlier that the limiting factor on media spending is a basic lack of disposable income.  The average credit card debt figure, which is approaching all time highs, strongly argues that Americans shouldn't be spending more on media at all and should probably spend less.  So if we maximize paying even more, what exactly would an economy like this even look like?  How could you argue that it's healthy?  This also ignoring the multiple counterexamples that we have in other countries with lax copyright laws.  Artistic creators are able to generate income in those countries too using different business models.

You accuse me also of being the problem and even called me a virus.  I didn't want to make an anecdotal example of myself but if you insist on using me as an example I can rock with it.  I recently had a planning meeting with a financial advisor and we concluded I wasn't saving enough.  Don't get me wrong I save more than most but still don't save enough.  I don't have terrible CC debts thankfully but it's pretty clear to me I spend too much on media.  I have first editions of all your PoN books and I overpaid terribly for a first edition of TTT which ebay advertised was signed by you.  With your second series, I've pre-ordered multiple copies from multiple sites to get them as soon as possible.  With TWLW I placed a next day order from Amazon Canada to get it a few days early without canceling my American Amazon hardcover which I still own because I want matching covers.  I paid a premium for an Advance Reader copy on Ebay for the Great Ordeal while, again, retaining a first edition hardcover for my display.  Most recently I ordered a UK copy of TGO because I needed to ensure I got my copy before I went on a 3 week vacation in Asia.  This is on top of my legitimate Kindle purchases of your all your books.  I don't care enough about music to pirate it since I listen to audiobooks or podcasts in my car and I only watch what's on TV and am an avid theater goer.  I also game mostly on XBO which, as far as I know, has never been hacked to play bootlegs.

So as you can see, I'm actually a model consumer if anything.  Just because you are my favorite author doesn't mean I'll just let you insult me or make incorrect assumptions about me.  I look at the issue of piracy on a macro scale whereas you seem to be arguing on an emotional level.  Any rational analysis of my spending habits would lead to the conclusion that I spend too much on media or media related merchandise.

--- End quote ---

The sheer number of media consumers worldwide is exploding, so of course there's an overall gain. In Western music markets, revenue remains around 60% of its 2000 mark. Even looking at the EU data correlating higher illegal downloading with higher purchasing you very quickly run into differential granularity problems: the fact is, the 'long tail' as they call it, is getting skinnier and skinnier, and the long tail is where the genuine novelty incubates. The skinnier it gets, the less incubation time it has, the more likely it is to die off, the more monotonous and mechanical the mainstream becomes. (Since concert/touring income is almost entirely restricted to the manufacturers of pap, and only applicable to musicians to boot, it is an argumentative canard).

Like all instances of free-riding, the viability depends on honest brokers. Since you seem to recognize this now (abandoning the assertion that IP is an artificial instrument of oppression), then the question is one of why you aren't decrying illegal downloading? At what point do you think illegal downloading will negatively impact sales. When it reaches 50%? 60%? 70%? 80%? Do you only plan to defend it so far?

To the extent you provide apparently articulate rationales for illegal downloading you are, most definitely, part of the problem. I thank you for buying my books, but as someone who regularly encounters 'I'll keep reading, but I ain't paying a cent,' comments because of some perceived moral failing on my part, I would kindly ask that you stop encouraging people to perpetuate my poverty. Do you really think product placement and merchandising are commensurate with projects like mine? What other 'business model' do you have in mind? Government handouts? The last I checked my books contravened pretty much every 'literary scruple' an arts bureaucrat can be expected to muster.

I am genuinely 'out there.' The only way fools like me get to make a difference is by toughing it out in the long tail. The problem I face, even though my sell-through percentages are in the high 80 percentile range, is that publishers are becoming less and less inclined to 'develop' midlist authors, and more and more inclined to grope for lightning in a bottle. Why pay an artist to hone their craft when you need only troll for magical amateurs? The less books I sell, the more expendable I become. As soon as I vanish from bookstore shelves, my single biggest point of exposure to new readers vanishes also, as well as any chance of receiving mainstream attention. Then odds are, it's off to the experimenter's graveyard. The genre community finds me pretentious, too 'academic.' The academic community finds me vulgar, too 'genre.' My publishers are the only institutional leg I have to stand on... of course I find your chiseling insulting. That which robs me makes me richer.

In one breath you say illegal downloading generates IP income, and in the next you say it's time to find something other than IP income. Then you say I'm advocating higher levels of household debt. Ooof. If we don't let people steal X, then we risk the economy collapsing. And X = 'content' as opposed to 'chairs' or 'diapers' or 'allergy medication' why?

Talk about rationalization.

I'll give it to you Scott for toughing it out and sticking to your guns. The genre community are a bunch of plebs, and lol at what academics think about anything.


--- Quote from: Callan S. on August 01, 2017, 12:06:09 am ---
--- Quote from: Cû'jara-Cinmoi on July 31, 2017, 12:16:36 pm ---
--- Quote from: MisterGuyMan on July 31, 2017, 12:38:47 am ---At the risk of alienating my favorite author, I'm firmly believe piracy is a bogeyman used by large media companies.

I've read a lot of studies on the issue and if you throw out the media sponsored ones and the ones that equate each pirated copy to a lost sale, the actual effect of piracy isn't bad and even has positive benefits.

--- End quote ---

In other words, big media are skewing results in order to minimize their profits... The only universe in which this argument could have bite is one where humans are hardwired to rationalize guilt
--- End quote ---

How would skewing results reduce their actual profits?

I'm skeptical on the whole piracy effect as well (I don't pirate, just to be clear) - I'd like to see some science done on it -  if forced, whether they'd buy the book if they had no other access to it. I suspect many pirates have a hording condition - they don't read what they download (they can download more than they could read in a lifetime, after all), they just sit on it, like a dragon on its horde. Madly collecting meaning. But maybe some science would show they do read en masse and would pay en masse. Given the money in the various media industries, it's surprising they haven't paid what would be a relative pittance to run some science on this.

--- End quote ---


--- Quote from: Callan S. on August 01, 2017, 07:48:18 pm ---It wouldn't be a Bakker thread if it didn't gnarl its way off in a direction random and kinda making sense at the same time!! Plus more posts popped up while I typed this, so...

--- Quote from: MisterGuyMan on August 01, 2017, 01:14:51 pm ---As for your analogy you're ignoring a vital difference.  Yes, I do go to a grocery store and pay for my groceries.  If I took them without paying, that's theft.  The difference here is that no physical copy is actually taken.  Suppose we developed the technology to just replicate food like in Star Trek.  Would that be stealing?  That's a closer analogy than stealing food at a supermarket.
--- End quote ---
A physical copy is indeed taken? Digitizing isn't supernatural.

And star trek doesn't explain if people it's setting have to pay for the energy of replication, or if they have some kind of socialist (or something like that) system that would actual support an author and his/her family, rather than leave them to the winds of the open market.

Assuming star trek has some kind of 'look after each other' system, you seem to be treating it that being able to copy books means we have that benefit of the star trek world as well? As if social care goes hand in hand with technology? It sounds like a faith in technology.

--- End quote ---


[0] Message Index

[#] Next page

[*] Previous page

Go to full version