Further Piracy Thoughts

October 14th, 2009 § 2 comments

Here’s a few more bullet points from the Things I Think About Piracy department, as a followup to ICv2, Gaming Book Piracy, Quality of News. Most of this addresses “media” piracy; software piracy is a whole different kettle of fish, I think, as you can profit from using pirated software.

  • I don’t think piracy is a compliment. You like my stuff enough to use it, but not enough to pay for it? Ugh, that’s kind of crummy middle-of-the-road like, isn’t it?
  • I don’t think that anything you do with a file or physical media you’ve bought should be considered piracy or illegal unless you actually duplicate it for or make available copies to someone else. Make a half-dozen backups. Copy and paste the text into your own custom version of the file. Print out a copy that can be handed around the gaming table, and when that copy gets beaten up and ripped, shred it and print another copy. Rip that DVD to your hard drive and copy it to your iPod. Photocopy the book and paste all the pages onto your wall in some bizarre wallpaper homage to Shadowrun, Second Edition.
  • I try not to support DRM or other sort of restrictive publishing schemes, either as a publisher or a consumer. I’m afraid it’s not completely unavoidable—after all, commercial DVDs have DRM on them, and I’m not about to stop buying DVDs. And within the last year, I’ve accidentally bought a DRMed ebook or two, but I try to avoid it. As a publisher, I do not believe that restrictions that can impair paying customers are the right thing to do. That said, sometimes publishing partners, licensors, etc, demand or impose DRM; you can’t always blame the creator for it.
  • I think that piracy that is personal—giving some music or a copied DVD to a friend, for example—is far more acceptable than putting the exact same thing online to be downloaded by total strangers. When I share things, I want to share it with people who are going to help enrich my experience! (I still loan books that I enjoy to my friends, too. Fancy that!)
  • I think the library is an awesome place to get books, audiobooks, DVDs,and CDs that you don’t own. Enjoyed it? Maybe you should buy a copy. Didn’t like it? Hopefully the next person that takes it out does! Some libraries are even lending out ebooks and other modern formats, now!

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§ 2 Responses to Further Piracy Thoughts"

  • Turing E. says:

    Out of curiosity, how do you feel about people who pirate books as a “try and buy” scenario?

  • Adam says:

    Hey Turing,

    My thoughts on that are kind of complicated. In short, if you really do “try and buy,” well, it’s hard to get too upset at someone who buys.

    A few things to think about … by no means are these my complete thoughts on the subject:

    * If you “try” a novel, how long are you going to wait to buy it? In some cases, selling a copy within a few days/weeks/months will do more good than selling a copy down the road a year when you decide you want to re-read the book. When dealing with a series of books and a publisher/author you’ve built up trust with, I think this is also important — you showing support early in the book’s lifespan is something they’ve earned!

    * I think “try and buy” can lead to people being overly critical and trying to find reasons not to buy the book.

    * And finally, if you “tried and didn’t buy,” and you are talking about a book later down the road [recommending it for someone else who has different taste than you, not recommending it for someone who has similar taste, etc], should you disclose that you didn’t buy it before reading it? It’s common protocol for a reviewer to disclose that they received a review copy from the publisher, after all …

    * Libraries are wicked places to try books.

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