What might this mean for our consideration of ebooks? Even though music and books are different in some aspects, they would both fall under what the report refers to as an “experience good” so I believe we can (at least cautiously) extrapolate the findings of this report to ebooks. A perennial issue in conversations with the Big Six is the displacement of sales due to library lending. At times, it even seems that the Big Six view library patrons as ebook pirates, so let us then embrace this study’s findings, which show a lack of sales displacement. In fact, libraries are much more similar to the legal music streaming services discussed in the report—and those streaming services stimulated sales.
I have long maintained that I only buy something if I already know what I’m getting and know that I like it, whether it’s music or books (print books; I still haven’t made the plunge into ebooks for my recreational reading). I’m glad studies continue to support the idea that “preview services” (like streaming or libraries) can and do stimulate sales rather than diminishing them.
I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one to feel this way, but my overall impression of copyright, intellectual property, and swirling vortex of issues around those two issues can be summed up in one word: unsatisfactory. […]
Professionally, it feels like dancing through a landmine field. I am trying to steer people to the legitimate track of properly authorized and compensated copies of digital media, but society and business seems to conspire against this ideal. The social acceptance of media copying have lead me to the hardly surprising conclusion that people are copying the music and movies that they check out from the library at home. Over the course of my library years, I’ve even had the unfortunate experience of intervening when people were brazenly ripping CDs onto their laptops at the library. Some honestly didn’t know that it was a copyright infraction while others picked up on the fact that they could copy those CDs but in the privacy of their own homes. When it comes to eBooks, it’s tricky to guide people away from the ease of P2P downloading when the so called “friction” of eBook lending turns the question of borrowing into a overly long complex and extremely contextual answer. In trying to respect the owners of copyright, I end up showcasing all the madness that they have brought down on themselves in order to enforce it. It does nothing to encourage compliance nor engender respect for the concept or the laws supporting it.
Great post on his experience with downloading/file-sharing and copyright issues.
This is a very good piece from the WSJ on piracy and the difference between music and books when it comes to digital transition. http://on.wsj.com/JPYJ42
Of course both products are very different. Over the 400 years we have been trained to think of books as a self contained artifact and a physical product acquired and lovingly shelved in your home or library. Music’s “product” is the sound emitted invisibly from a speaker, often enjoyed communally and broadcast for free, turned on at will pouring from speakers like water from a tap. Vinyl, cassettes, and CDs were packaging and since the demise of the album cover just soulless containers. Training us to buy digital music by the download is like training us to buy bottled water. Convenience and prestige help but if you’re thirsty you can always find a water fountain or turn on the tap. The closest thing books have had to a public fountain are libraries.
That is the big question in digital book’s future. Will we see book’s content become a utility like water pouring/streaming to our screens like tap water? As we move away from native apps and the internet becomes the entertainet will we stop thinking of books as artifacts themselves and consider the words like music or television images - something we pay for monthly for unlimited access like cable, electricity, or water?
Yesterday on twitter, I expressed annoyance with the hundreds of people who send me emails or tumblr messages or whatever to let me know that they illegally downloaded one of my books, as if they expect me to reply with my hearty congratulations that they are technologically sophisticated enough to use google or whatever. (I dislike it when people pirate my books. I know that not all authors feel this way, but I do. As I’ve discussed before, I think copyright law is disastrously stupid in the US, but I don’t think piracy is an appropriate response to that stupidity.*)
I then pointed out that my books are already available for free at thousands of public libraries not just in the US, but also in Europe, South America, Australia, Canada, Mexico, South Africa, the UK, etc., to which many people replied, What’s the difference between pirating a book and checking it out from the library?
Continued at original post, and I highly recommend reading the whole thing. :)
There’s plenty of excellent reasons to stagger the release of a new piece of software on an international scale: Doing so keeps servers from melting into pools of unusable silicon, and preserves the sanity of help desk agents, if only for a little while. That said, if a game’s not available in the states, even though the Italians have had it for a week, you know that someone, somewhere is going to be pirating that bad boy. By giving consumers what they want simultaneously on an international level, developers could strike another reason for illegally downloading an application from the the litany of excuses pirates have been employing for years.
This is also the case for movies and some TV shows.
For more than a year, the Motion Picture Association of America and the Recording Industry Association of America have argued that existing laws were insufficient to deal with the problem of “rogue sites” hosted overseas. They’ve been pushing bills like the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the PROTECT IP Act as essential weapons in the fight.
But evidently, American law enforcement didn’t get the memo that they were powerless against overseas file-sharing services. The day after the Internet’s historic protest of SOPA and PIPA last week, the United States government unsealed an indictment against the people behind Megaupload, one of the largest sites on the Internet. Four senior Megaupload officials were arrested in New Zealand on Thursday, and officials seized millions of dollars in assets.
A major new survey of American attitudes to online copyright infringement has found that 70 percent of all 18 to 29-year-olds have pirated music, TV shows, or movies. But almost no Americans are hardcore grog-swillers, and two-thirds of those who do acquire copyrighted material without permission also acquire content legally.
The new research comes courtesy of a forthcoming report called Copy Culture in the US and Germany, and it was done by some of the same researchers who worked on the groundbreaking Media Piracy in Emerging Economies report earlier this year. Data comes from a Princeton Survey Research Associates telephone poll of 2,303 American adults during the month of August; a Google grant funded some of the research.
The poll found that 46 percent of all Americans have engaged in piracy, but that young people skew the numbers significantly. And while it found that piracy is common, it also found that most is relatively casual. Only 2 percent of Americans are “heavy music pirates” with more than 1,000 tracks of infringing music; only 1 percent of Americans are heavy TV/movie pirates with more than 100 infringing shows or films.
» via ars technica
Which Country Has the World’s Fastest Internet? [infographic]
I am greatly entertained by the fact that Sherlock Holmes is second after the Kama Sutra. :)
Here’s the top 5; go to the site for the rest (the Bible (King James Version) comes in at #12, for the curious):
1) Library of Congress. Explore the Center for the Book (free reads & downloads), The National Jukebox (free historical sound recordings), the digital collections, the US Copyright Office, the Law Library of Congress, the home of the poet laureate, and so on, and so on, and I love America.