Laurel L. Russwurm's Free Culture Blog

a writer, the copyfight and internet freedom

the “specter of e-book piracy” is a crock

with 2 comments

Copyright "c"Instead of just adding this to My Comments links I think it deserves a post of it’s own. I’ve no time to get into it further, as I’m working on self publishing my debut novel Inconstant Moon just now, but I know I will need to revisit copyright in depth as soon as IM is released, since Canada is looking at making our already dreadful copyright law worse, and I need to do my bit to try to stop it.

So this is an expanded version of a comment I’ve made to the article:
TeleRead: Specter of e-book piracy looms large on horizon

Seems I missed it last fall, but is still circulating online, so clearly it needs to be addressed. We need to stop the misinformation. I have already written a fair bit about copyright in this blog if you want more, but this is a capsule rebuttal to the piracy fallacy.

Piracy is a Red Herring

red herring cc by laurelrusswurm

Oh please.

Used to be copyright was justified as an encouragement to creators to create more. The thing is the terms have become downright silly… extending copyright terms from fifty to seventy years after the death of the author is not going to encourage the author to create more. Once you’re dead that’s it. The current trend in ridiculous copyright laws don’t benefit the creators, but rather the corporations, who have never been particularly beneficial to creators. Corporations do NOT have the same objectives as creators.

The copyright maximalist contention that shared digital media is equivalent to lost sales is ludicrous.

I own thousands of books. Books that I read before purchasing. Either other people’s copies or library copies. I’ve read some terrible library books and not bought them because didn’t like them. I would NEVER have bought them. I only buy books I like. There are some books that I buy over and obver again so that I can give copies away. (I’m old enough to know I don’t always get copies I lend out back.) Sometimes I’ll take a flyer on writers I have come to like. Still, two consecutive turkeys and I’m done.

Cody & Pif

[No offense to turkeys. Sandra Boynton has embedded turkeys as an analogy forever in my mind.]

But I want the creators I like to make a living so they can continue to entertain me. I’ve read a lot of dogs to get to the point of knowing which writers I want to read. That’s right, dogs.

[No offense to dogs. Some of my best friends are dogs.]

Gatekeepers?

All those terrible or merely mediocre books, or sometimes books that might have been alright had the advertising not misled me into thinking it would be something else. All those books that the publishers, the so-called ‘gatekeepers.’ have decided were worth printing… I despair when I think of all the books that have been or will be lost from the sum of human knowledge due to copyright. And all the books that were never shared because some idiot who had no idea decided it wasn’t worth printing. Just knowing how many unfortunate books I’ve read, I am certain that there are rather a lot of those.

Pirate Bay buttons

The combination of digital technology and the Internet is win-win for both creators and audience. The only ones who suffer are the distributors who are trying to pretend that nothing has changed until legislation to turn back the hands of time can be imposed.

I’ve heard this over and over again, because it’s true:

Piracy doesn’t harm writers, obscurity does.

2 Responses

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  1. […] the “specter of e-book piracy” is a crock Used to be copyright was justified as an encouragement to creators to create more. The thing is the terms have become downright silly… extending copyright terms from fifty to seventy years after the death of the author is not going to encourage the author to create more. Once you’re dead that’s it. The current trend in ridiculous copyright laws don’t benefit the creators, but rather the corporations, who have never been particularly beneficial to creators. Corporations do NOT have the same objectives as creators. […]

  2. Funny, I was just listening to a podcast of the CBC show Ideas called Closing The Book, all about e-books and their effect on culture, bibliophiles, and the book industry. There was a mention of digital piracy, but it wasn’t the focus of the show.

    Bob Jonkman

    February 16, 2011 at 8:14 pm


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