‘Tis a bonnie intellectual property, Matey.

It was only a matter of time, I suppose, before book piracy became a serious, serious issue on the Internet, given that works have been pirated since the early days of printing, and probably prior to that.  Defoe actually praised those who had pirated his satirical poem The True-Born Englishman enabling him to sell more copies and increase his popularity.  Or was he just being satirical?  Still, the situation is potentially dire.

And speaking of hilarious intellectual property disputes, here’s a comic take on NPR regarding the multiple accusations that mega-group Coldplay has stolen others’ material.  You need speakers on for this one, especially to feast your ears on the mashup of all three plaintiffs’ pieces playing in unison with the alleged theft.

E. Scripsi

Published in: on May 18, 2009 at 4:59 pm  Comments (2)  

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  1. I agree with Defoe and the science fiction writer Cory Doctorow, who wrote in his article Giving It Away, for Forbes magazine, “I’ve been giving away my books ever since my first novel came out, and boy has it ever made me a bunch of money…Most people who download the book don’t end up buying it, but they wouldn’t have bought it in any event, so I haven’t lost any sales, I’ve just won an audience. A tiny minority of downloaders treat the free e-book as a substitute for the printed book–those are the lost sales. But a much larger minority treat the e-book as an enticement to buy the printed book. They’re gained sales. As long as gained sales outnumber lost sales, I’m ahead of the game. After all, distributing nearly a million copies of my book has cost me nothing.”
    In this day and age writers need a new model. It’s not like the old one has worked terribly well for us anyway, with agents and publishers each taking their cut. This is where Creative Commons Licensing comes in, which allows for a high degree of flexibility, depending on which license is used. You can allow commercial use of your work, or not, allow it to be changed, or not, or just allow it to be given away for free as long as the attribution is to the author.
    Aren’t libraries a sort of benign, organized piracy anyway? They often don’t help authors to sell more books, (especially when those books have already gone out of print). I have read many books from the library by many authors whose books I don’t have at home. An author doesn’t get money from used book sales either: but libraries, downloads, and passing old well-thumbed tomes around all have the same effect of spreading the word virus in the writers own distinctive patois -maybe earning her some new fans along the way.

  2. All true. I’m going to start wearing an eye patch to work, starting tomorrow. There seems to be a lot of confusion these days between “raw sales of editions” value and “cache” value… and given that the idea of an edition is soon to be a particular version of a chunk of data–well something’s got to give.

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