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[personal profile] stephiny
I'm somewhat prone to obsessing over what is right when it comes to moral issues. I end up thinking way more than is healthy, like the time that it was suggested to me that using wikipedia in any way for coursework was cheating. I'm still of the opinion that it's not, because proper research papers include bibliographies too, and the main thing I use wikipedia for is to find relevant sources of information on a subject. She wouldn't explain why or how it was cheating though, so I still find myself occasionally tearing the subject apart in my head trying to figure out how it is wrong.

The same goes for my thoughts on piracy. B thinks I'm a thief, and today on facebook this status was posted, "Ebook piracy is theft. If you upload or download an in-copyright ebook without paying for it you are a thief. No ifs, ands, or buts. You are a thief. It's no different to walking out of a shop with a book under your coat."

When two people that I respect disagree with me, that's a fairly strong sign that there is some kind of flaw in my logic. I can't for the life of me figure out what it is though, and it's not like I haven't carefully examined every issue that I can think of relating to it. I'm obviously missing something and it's really frustrating.

I understand perfectly that in terms of what the law states, I am a thief. Ethically though, I don't want to steal. I just have a different definition of theft to most people and if it's actually wrong then I have a lot of fixing that I need to do.

When I've watched a film online more than once I try to buy a copy. This is why I have a pile of DVDs that are still in their wrappers. I buy them because it seems wrong not to, because I've watched it enough that I can't justify not owning a copy. When it comes to books I read whatever is freely availible online first. Google books or amazon often have long excerpts that I can read to decide if I want to buy something or not. If I can't find anything like that, I'll hunt down a copy to download and read and I have a hard time stopping reading something partway through. I almost always read those to the end, even if the books are shit and not worth buying at all, which is wrong but still not resulting in the loss of a sale. At least there aren't many books that I download and don't go on to buy. I have a nice little pile of unread paperbacks because of this, though most books I like to read multiple times and I get enticed by the new book smell so they tend not to go unread for long.

But then again, everyone already knows I do that. I'm still missing something and it's going to drive me nuts until I figure it out.

Date: 2010-08-17 04:22 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
The thing is, they were supposed to be publicity machines. The industries came to be, in essence, to spread the risk of bankrolling performers for what were increasingly high production costs. Maybe Garage Bands X, Y, and Z wouldn't earn out the initial investment of getting them into a studio, setting them up to tour, and putting sexy displays into major music shops, but if you averaged their performance with a U2 or a Metallica, the loss of investment didn't really matter. Same thing with films and novels - you were playing a statistical game by assuming the risk for a wide number based on the payoff from a few breakouts, and providing content creators with the sort of amenities they'd be unable to afford on their own at first, like editors and layout artists and sound crews and roadies, etc, etc. Division of labor.

I think my friend actually blogged about how the Publishing Industry as we know it first Borg-ified to assimilate small publishers and offer ludicrous advances to big-name authors and such. It's probably somewhere in her blog at Candlemark & Gleam, though I'm not 100% sure if it was there or on her LJ. That is, for the record, the company site I was talking about. She's remarkably levelheaded, and I'm really hoping it works out for her.

Since ebooks really do have to cost almost as much as a print book, especially when you're not publishing in print to begin with, and since most people are unwilling to pay those prices for digital ephemera (myself included), I really think the "tip jar" is a decent way to at least allow those people to pay something, rather than making it the all-or-nothing deal it's so often seen to be. In a perfect world, everyone would have ten quid to drop on a digital book, and a dandy indestructible ereader to read it on - in the real world, there are some people for whom that digital edition isn't worth the money because it lacks the convenience, and while it isn't fair that the publisher still has to take the same risks and invest the same in editing and layout, etc. to produce what's seen as a lesser product, it's good to at least give people a chance to plunk down what they think is decent when they've managed to snag a pirated copy.


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July 2011


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