Eastern Standard Tribe

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  1. Eastern Standard Tribe ships

    My second novel, Eastern Standard Tribe starts shipping today -- it should be showing up in bookstores any day now.

    Trackback by Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom — February 3, 2004 @ 8:31 pm

  2. Eastern Standard Tribe ships

    My second novel, Eastern Standard Tribe starts shipping today -- it should be showing up in bookstores any day now. As with Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom, my first novel, I've made the whole text of the novel...

    Trackback by Place So Foreign and Eight More — February 3, 2004 @ 8:31 pm

  3. Essay on the future of books by Cory Doctorow

    Cory Doctorow released his novel in stores as well as for free on the internet under a creative commons license....

    Trackback by Eric Rosenfield — February 3, 2004 @ 9:06 pm

  4. Good news! I look forward to finding my (inscribed) copy in my mailbox sometime soon.

    D

    Comment by Murph — February 3, 2004 @ 9:07 pm

  5. Hmmmm. I'm dubious Cory; about the free download aspect. Isn't that just encouraging the file sharers, who are in my opinion looters?

    You may very well be having hundreds of thousands of your books read, but are you making a living from it? How are you making money?

    If you are not making a living from your writing, then aren't you helping put another nail in the coffin of every wannabe writer today. The book/ebook market, and hence books, will be destroyed.

    I am confused.

    Comment by Tribeless — February 3, 2004 @ 9:37 pm

  6. First of all, to call file-sharers looters is, IMO, a non-starter. There are 70 million Americans engaged in file-sharing today, violating a copyright law that hasn't kept pace with technology (which is the norm -- people had to pirate sheet music to make piano rolls, phonographs to make radio broadcasts, braodcasts to make cable TV, and cable TV to make VHS recording -- each an activity that was eventually legalized by changing copyright instead of outlawing a popular new technology). No author is going to turn those downloaders into customers by calling them thieves. By contrast, the author who figures out how to capitalize on that activity will find himself sitting pretty: some Vaudeville artists sued Marconi for inventing the infringing radio, they ended up flipping burgers; other performers embraced radio and ended up rich and famous.

    There's every reason to believe that distributing ebooks for free boosts sales. It sure did for me. My first novel sold out its print run PDQ, as did my short story collection (six weeks!). They are selling well in their second printings. This is an experience borne out by other writers and publishers, especially and famously by Baen Books, which has been making a lot of money giving away previous installments in ongoing series (and selling not just the new installment, but also previous volumes, despite them being available gratis online).

    Every single advance in the history of mass media technology, from the Gutenberg Press to the musical recording, from the radio to the VCR, from the Xerox machine to the PC, has been characterized as certain to destroy the existing entertainment industry. The sky hasn't fallen yet (even the Catholic Church survived the printing-press-inspired Reformation). Indeed, at every turn, technologies that enable broader distribution end up paying more artists more money for making more art that is enjoyed by more people. If book publishing is dead, what is the largest science fiction publisher in the world (my publisher, Tor) doing investing in my career by buying book after book that will be distributed online alongside of their print artifacts?

    Comment by Cory Doctorow — February 3, 2004 @ 9:47 pm

  7. How did you type that quick :)

    Firstly, I hope you do well. I have downloaded your book, and I 'may' pay for a copy. But I think, personally, this is the start of the death of art (indeed, the death of production full stop). As a struggling writer myself with a boring day job, that worries me.

    Also, think of the other 'arts' that the file sharers are looting, for example, movies. Unlike writing a book, movies have massive production costs: unless they can make a profit they won't be made. When that happens, another important part of my life will disappear. And no, I'm not overly interested in watching amatuer low budget movies made by co-ops.

    I think it is naive to believe that an author is going to turn the file sharers into a 'long term'market, they are by nature free loaders and thieves. They have no morals or scruples. Yes, you will get some sales, but minscule compared to what you might get using traditional channels, again, over the long term.

    What I particularly hate is the argument promulgated by the black flag anarchists, which you are buying into, that technological change can be used as an excuse to by-pass basic, essential, morality. That is, 'we can't stop the file sharers, so lets just turn a moral blind eye to the fact that when done without consent, (thus you aside) file sharing is theft, and its denying artists a living". We should be prosecuting file sharers, not pandering to them, surely.

    I too will be interested in how you individually go, but I remain unmoved in my opinion that over the longer term what you are doing is insanity, and actually strikes at the heart of a capitalist system (which is the bedrock of freedom). Just my opinion, but I've been arguing with file sharers regarding intellectual property issues on a particular forum (email me if you'd like and address) and believe me they are a scary, immoral bunch of people. As such, they should not be encouraged, and they will cite your approach as legitimacy for their actions.

    But keep up the writing ... just rethink the politics.

    Comment by Tribeless — February 3, 2004 @ 10:09 pm

  8. "Unlike writing a book, movies have massive production costs: unless they can make a profit they won't be made."

    Monkish Bibles required the entire infrastructure of the Papacy. The Gutenberg Bible struck at its very core (and brought about the Reformation). Did Bibles, books, or the Church go away? Printing sheet music required the pinnacle of industrial culture circa 1908. Did the pirate piano roll kill music? Broadcast television was the most expensive for of entertainment ever built, the first medium with a truly post-industrial infrastructure, and yet, the wholesale piracy of broadcast signals by cable operators built a bigger, better broadcast industry than ever dreamt of.

    "I think it is naive to believe that an author is going to turn the file sharers into a 'long term'market, they are by nature free loaders and thieves. They have no morals or scruples. Yes, you will get some sales, but minscule compared to what you might get using traditional channels, again, over the long term."

    This rhetoric could be coming out of the mouth of a Vaudevilleian in the era of the anti-Marconi suits. If you want to call your audience unscrupled crooks, I imagine that you'll find that you get damned few sales out of them. Meanwhile, my books are selling stupendously well. So on the one hand, we have your moral indignation at the idea of copyright infringement (and activity that is downright traditional in every new medium) and your concomittant certainty that you can't sell books to infringers; on the other, we have my actual, no fooling, field experience in which I am selling books, hand over fist, to infringers. I suppose you can go on believing what you want, but I hope you don't mind if I eschew your advice to "rethink the politics."

    "'we can't stop the file sharers, so lets just turn a moral blind eye to the fact that when done without consent, (thus you aside) file sharing is theft, and its denying artists a living"."

    This is profoundly ahistorical. Every single new medium has ushered in a new copyright regime. Why should the Internet be the only medium that bends to fit copyright instead of vice versa? The rights of authors you're referring to didn't come down off a mountain on two stone tablets -- they were created in living memory, to accomodate the last round of technological change. There's no morality here, only the policy goal of shaping the contours of copyright to allow authors to earn their living while granting the public the freedom to exploit new technology.
    "they will cite your approach as legitimacy for their actions."

    I hope they do. America -- and the world -- need a new deal in copyright, one that protects authors without ushering in a regime where innovation, privacy, speech, and the open Internet are threatened by an out-of-control spiral of ever-tightening copyright laws with ever-stiffer penalties. I'm a delegate at the UN's World Intellectual Property Organization in Geneva, and I have to tell you, the things that are being considered today in the name of protecting authors from "pirates" (here I'm talking about the 70 million Americans running file-sharing apps, not the trolls you've managed to find yourself in a flamewar with) strike at the very core of democratic values and have no nexus with protecting authors from actual attacks on their income (such as organized criminals who mass-counterfeit CDs, books and DVDs; or even trust-like accounting and contracting practices at publishers that have them withholding royalties in non-interest accounts for years as a "reserve against returns" and producing nearly identical non-negotiable contracts across supposedly competitive firms).

    I am in the business of writing to earn money. I have turned my largest cost-center -- turning people onto my work -- into a profit-center, selling books. This isn't a theoretical proposition, it's not a superstition, it's not grounded on indignation at the idea of theft: it's based on actual facts, as reflected by regular checks from my publisher. This has nothing to do with destroying publishing or capitalism, and everything to do with adapting to the new marketplace realities. The only unforgivable sin in a market economy is to fail to offer a product that your customers demand. I don't intend on commiting it.

    Comment by Cory Doctorow — February 3, 2004 @ 10:26 pm

  9. Go Go Cory! Congrats...

    I'm going to stop hacking on code and read this now.... give you feedback at ETech.

    Damn it! This is going to push back our release schedule ;)

    Kevin

    Comment by Kevin Burton — February 3, 2004 @ 10:45 pm

  10. People who don't buy are people who likely wouldn't have bought in the first place. Me, I bought Cory's first book. It helped that I have a policy of buying the first book of any friend, but even if I thought he was a jerk, the word on the street was good enough for me to go and drop the money to do so. I'm also not as keen on reading on the screen. Charlie Stross gave me several of his novels (most still in the pipeline at the time) by beaming them to my Palm in a bar in Edinburgh, but I'm still happier reading them by killing a few trees.

    One fact that shouldn't be ignored, though, is that Cory has enormous Whuffie. BoingBoing gets way more hits (several orders of magnitude more, I imagine) than my blog, and this can help with the advertising and word of mouth. He's worked hard to build a base, and not been obnoxious about it, which means that many of these folks are willing to fork over. Would it work with me? Not yet, I suspect, but I am rooting for the guy blazing the trail.

    D

    Comment by Murph — February 3, 2004 @ 11:07 pm

  11. "There's no morality here, only the policy goal of shaping the contours of copyright to allow authors to earn their living while granting the public the freedom to exploit new technology."

    You make some very good points, but for me the above strikes at the heart of the issue. There must always be a place for morality. Why not look at ways that 'give the public the freedom to exploit new technology', while not sanctioning the theft which is file sharing. For example, DRM and encryption. I realise that DRM has a pretty botched history to date, but I would argue it behoves the publishing industry to look in this direction, rather than legitimising theft, which will have long term negative consequences (systems approach).

    Also, your opening 'bible' argument is not relevant. Movies are produced for profit and then entertainment. The bible's you speak of were produced for religious reasons (indeed, the self sacrificing Christian mind would relish, some might say, the chance of going bankrupt to produce something that might save souls). But, no profit, ergo, due to file sharing no way for big budget movies to 'sell' their product, then no movies.

    "...we have my actual, no fooling, field experience in which I am selling books, hand over fist, to infringers."

    You are not selling your books to infringers, as you are 'allowing' your book to go out on the Net, (therefore, I have to say at this point I'm growing uneasy here that we may be talking at cross purposes). This aside, what of the authors who are having their books traded without such sanction? Plus you have no control for this experiment: ie, how can we guage if your sales wouldn't be higher if you were selling through traditional channels.

    But its great you are selling books hand over fist regardless. I accept its a fascinating experiment, I'm not comfortable with it, indeed, think that all the baggage that goes along with it will be harmful long term, but my comfort is not your concern. At least you're doing it, and testing the water. Gotta respect that.

    Now unfortunately, my lot being what it is, I've got to get some work done. Thank you for your points ... do you want to give me a progress report in about fifteen years? :)

    Comment by Tribeless — February 3, 2004 @ 11:20 pm

  12. Tribeless, you say you are a struggling writer.
    If you're only in it for the money, I can't say I feel for you.

    What's happening with the Creative Commons seems more like a maturing of art than its death. Art has always been with us, but its ties to money have never been as enormous as now. You say this is a sign of freedom, but where's the freedom if distributing your own work for nothing can kill the system?

    By the way, 'theft' is a horrible way to describe file sharing.

    Comment by koala — February 4, 2004 @ 12:31 am

  13. Tribeless - there was this horrible pirating outfit operating a block away from where I lived in Boston. I could walk in there, grab a book, and sit at a nice table and read it, all without paying a penny. I must have sat there dozens of times for hours on length, reading books and magazines alike, surrounded fellow infringers engaging in similar unscruplous activities, the police turning a blind eye to our theft. I believe the name of the place was Barnes and Noble. And they serve Starbucks coffee too! Horrid.

    But you know what? After awhile, I would get tired of sitting, or need to get to class, and I would get up, take the items that had engaged me too much to part with them, and pay for them.

    Mr. Doctorow's distribution is brilliant; it dares me to read it, become attached, and desire a printed copy that I could carry with me (yes, I did buy Down and Out...). Free online distribution brings the bookstore experience into your home, and it provides the author an amazingly low marginal cost for a broad audience. Isn't that good for an author of limited means?

    Comment by Ken — February 4, 2004 @ 12:58 am

  14. 1 - no one will read a whole book on the screen
    2 - a print out simply does not have the feel of a book

    These two basic facts are why it is possible to allow downloads/sharing and not suffer for it.

    Charge ahead Cory!

    Comment by Philip — February 4, 2004 @ 1:00 am

  15. ...and until the day the material composition of the book (of long fiction) changes to allow electronic downloads into it, downloading/sharing will be a rather unfulfilling enterprise except for those prepared to foot the cost of printing it nicely or reading off an awkward pile of papers

    Comment by Philip — February 4, 2004 @ 1:26 am

  16. What about when everybody only reads ebooks on hand devices. I've only been reading on my PocketPC for over three years now - probably read three or four books a month, but not one dead tree book. I already view dead tree books as archaic and inconvenient.

    What need to buy Cory's dead tree book then? Given this what happens to the model being tried here ??

    Koala wrote: "By the way, 'theft' is a horrible way to describe file sharing"

    Well if the book is under copyright (unlike Cory's), then morally, and legally, that is exactly what it is. What do you want me to call it?

    Comment by Tribeless — February 4, 2004 @ 2:56 am

  17. > Well if the book is under copyright (unlike
    > Cory's), then morally, and legally, that is
    > exactly what it is. What do you want me to call
    > it?

    It's not theft if you choose to give it away. I'm sure Cory can explain this, but I'd guess that the print publishers have the rights to the book publication side of things, and Cory (as copyright holder) retained the rights to electronic distribution.

    Comment by David Moore — February 4, 2004 @ 5:21 am

  18. Tribeless, all my books are "under copyright." You write as though copyright was a property right, which it isn't. Copyright is a "bundle of rights" -- a bunch of pseudo-property rights set out to achieve the objective of promoting the useful arts and sciences as set out in the Copyright Clause of the Constitution. The extent and duration of copyright changes according to local fashion and custom, like skirt-lengths.

    The Supremes found that commercial digitizing and resale of sheet music by turning it into a piano roll was not infringing, but paid off the music publishers by creating the compulsory license in music. 75 years later, the Supremes said that copying 100 percent of a TV show with a VCR wasn't infringing (a complete reversal of existing wisdom about copyright in that day) and *didn't* buy anyone off with any kind of compulsory. But Congress *did* buy off the broadcasters with a compulsory that allowed the competing cable operators to go on pirating TV signals for retransmission on the wire, provided that they paid a fixed fee to the broadcasters.

    Copyright changes every single time we get a new technology, because new technology changes the way to get to the goal set out in the Constitution. You can promote the useful arts differently in a world with an Internet than in a world with just a cable network.

    BTW, as befits your film example, know this:

    1. The film industry set up shop in Hollywood so that it could rip off Edison's film patents 3000 miles from Edison's New Jersey patent agents. The Hollywood film industry thrived, and so did Edison, even though he was being ripped off.

    2. The film industry boycotted television as certain to napsterize the movie-houses, and only got dragged into TV licensing when Walt Disney had a falling out with his brother Roy that led to his Wonderful World of Color licensing deal with ABC, which broke the cartel.

    3. 20 years ago, Jack Valenti, the mouthpiece for the Motion Picture Association of America, told Congress that the VCR was the "Boston Strangler of the American film industry." Today, the VCR and its successor technology account for 40 percent of Hollywood's bottom line (box office receipts are 26 percent).

    4. But the VCR is NEW revenue for the studios, not a cannibalization of the box office: the studios just had their best box office year since 1959.

    So tell me again: how is it that changing the nature of Hollywood's IP rights against its wishes is certain to kill the film industry because they'll be too poor to make movies?

    The role of technologists has traditionally been to drag the entertainment industry kicking and screaming to the money tree. The role of the entertainment industry has traditionally been to seek injunctive relief from all that lovely money.

    My book is under copyright. My book has been licensed, according to my own preferences, as the rights-holder, under a "some rights reserved" regime. I have created the tiniest of easements in the pseudo-property rights that copyright grants me.

    As to DRM: DRM is a failure in the market and a disaster in the policy sphere. There is no market demand signal for DRM. None of my readers woke up this morning and said, "Damn, I wish there was a way that I could do less with the books in my library." If you are sincere in you professed belief in capitalism, then you must surely agree that the only unforgivable sin in the market is to offer a product your customers don't want.

    And on the policy sphere, protecting the technical impossibility of DRM (securing a computer against its own user is an idea that is properly ridiculed by any technologist who isn't in the employ of a studio or DRM vendor -- I sit on standards committees for DRM on the local and international level, BTW) means the anti-circumvention regimes in the DMCA, the EUCD, and the bilateral trade negotiations with Singapore, Chile and the Andean nations. These are the provisions that have produced the humiliating spectacles of an ivy league engineering professor being threatened with prison for proposing to discuss mathematics at an academic conference; with the *Russian* state department advising its researchers not to make presentations in America after we imprisoned a Russian research who described the wrong math at a conference in Vegas; of a Norweigan teenager being hauled into court for writing software to let him watch his own, lawfully acquired DVDs on his own, lawfully acquired DVD player; of 10 years of innovation stagnation in DVD devices; of the anticompetitive actions of companies like Lexmark, which misuse copyright law to lock competitors out of remanufacturing its printer cartridges, and so on.

    The market economy you love springs from due process and the rule of law. The DRM world can only succeed when we set those principles aside in favor of self-help measures, technology mandates, turning a blind eye to antitrust, the creation of cruel-and-unusual superpenalties for violation.

    Comment by Cory Doctorow — February 4, 2004 @ 5:34 am

  19. Le futur de l'édition, en direct

    Le deuxième roman de Cory Doctorow, Eastern Standard Tribe, est publié aujourd'hui à la fois en version livre et en version téléchargeable gratuite. Cory propose aussi un essai expliquant pourquoi et comment il publie ainsi les deux versions et comment...

    Trackback by ConstellationW3 — February 4, 2004 @ 6:52 am

  20. http://bren.pintglass.org/archives/002508.html

    I read Cory Doctorow's first book, "Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom" entirely on my Palm, thanks to his...

    Trackback by bren : blog — February 4, 2004 @ 6:55 am

  21. Arguments about the moral righteousness of what he's doing aside, I'd like to know more about *how* Cory's done it. Given that he's actually making money, it seems that proponents both for and against this sort of publishing would be interested in a) whether Cory's likely to be successful, and b) if (and how) others can be successful the same way.

    Cory, Murph mentioned above that your site, BoingBoing, has had a lot to do with your success - and I'm sure that it has. As a steadfast reader of that site, and as a struggling writer myself, I'd be curious to hear what you fel the impact and importance of that marketing avenue is. Withouth maintaining a site like that myself, can I still approach the "commons" with any hope of success? And, further, what other factors have played a part in your success?

    Comment by Josh — February 4, 2004 @ 7:05 am

  22. It's a good question, and I don't have a good answer. Every writer is different -- books aren't interchangeable commodities -- and has different natural constiuencies for her or his work. Boing Boing helps me sell books, sure, but so do all my other activities... I don't think everyone needs to edit a site like BB, but I think that everyone needs something....

    Comment by Cory Doctorow — February 4, 2004 @ 7:08 am

  23. Hi there,

    Great to see the new book out, reading it ATM. Of course I'll go buy a copy that involved hacking a tree apart :)

    Also, of course, it's time to remix it once again!

    Click here to go to what seems like the slowest server in the world and choose which books you'd like to cut, scratch and mix.

    Remix a single book and see what comes out, or a bit of sampling from both books together for something new and unsual. "The Alice Tribe down in Wonderland".

    I'm currently thinking about adding in the RSS Technology news feed from the BBC, just to see what happens.

    Love
    Modesty
    xxxx

    Comment by Modesty B Catt — February 4, 2004 @ 8:16 am

  24. Here's a nice (true) anecdote that might explain why Cory here definitely isn't doomed, and why all the DRM fanatics are. It's anonymous for obvious reasons.

    I used to pirate everything. EVERYTHING. Music. Movies. Anime. Games. You name it, if it could be stored in a digital format I didn't pay for it. This lasted several years while I was going through college. Take a wild guess as to how much money I had to spend. That's right - zero. I couldn't have bought this stuff if I wanted to.

    Eventually I got out of college and got a real job. I was listening to music at work on a netradio station, and said to myself "You know, this artist is really good. I want to hear more."

    I considered installing Kazaa. But I didn't really *want* to. I'd have to spend quite some time finding all the tracks on their CDs. And organizing them. And a few might be fake, and half of them would be different qualities, and the volume would change randomly between them. It somehow didn't seem worth it.

    So I got up, went to the used CD store a block away, and bought a CD. While I was there, I bought a few more. A year later I had 80 CDs, almost all bought used, *literally* all bought because I heard their music for free somewhere (pirated music or netradio) and said "Hey, this is pretty good!"

    I bought games also. It was easier than downloading, and I didn't have to worry about finding programs to break the copy-protection, and I didn't have to worry about viruses or anything. (As much, at least.)

    I bought anime. Better quality, since it wasn't re-encoded from DVD into something small enough to download. Anyway, it was good stuff, and there's something really cool-looking about all six Cowboy Bebop DVDs next to each other. (They're rainbow-colored. Pretty.)

    I bought movies - mostly used. Not many, but a few things I've always wanted. Again, better quality, plus this way I got all the extras and the credits and so forth.

    It's worth pointing out, however, that I'm rather obsessive about being able to *use my own data*. Every single one of those 80 CDs is dumped on my hard drive, so I don't have to fiddle with CDs when I want to play what I want. All my single-player games are, in fact, cracked, because I don't want to fiddle with CDs for those either. Wait, not all - a few of the games don't *have* copy protection that requires me to swap CDs around constantly. Those, I don't crack, and I thank the makers. The movies and anime are too large to store on my hard drive easily, so those I have to carry around with me, at least until 1tb hard drives are common (which will be about two years, at this rate.)

    I never ran into a CD I couldn't dump - a few that were recalcitrant, but I was fully planning to take it back to the shop and make a stink about how it "doesn't work in my player" if I couldn't dump one. It's my data. I paid good money for it. If I can't do what I want with it, it's not worth it to me.

    I have about fifty novels on my PDA at this moment. I have all of Discworld, for one thing. I own them all in book form also, but some of them are in different places across the country, and this is just easier. I have the entire Callahan series (for the same reasons.) Naturally, whenever a new one comes out - of either series - I buy it in book form, then illegally download it from the 'net and put it on my PDA. (So it goes.)

    And yes, I have some books I don't own legally. I'll probably read them, then go to the store and buy them.

    I can't even attempt to count how much money I've spent on things I got for free. Thousands. More. Why are they trying to eliminate this incredible free form of advertisement? I just don't get it.

    I've sent myself an email linking to this site. When I get home, I'll download these books and put them on my PDA also. I'll probably end up buying them. This is why Cory isn't doomed.

    Meanwhile, I hear rumors that some of the new CDs by groups I like have copy protection that my CD drive can't crack. I guess I'll just end up downloading those illegally - there's no advantage to buying them, I won't be able to play them and I'll feel stupid for paying money for useless products. Ironic, eh?

    Comment by Anonymous — February 4, 2004 @ 8:16 am

  25. Eastern Standard Tribe

    Eastern Standard Tribe es la nueva novela de Cory Doctorow que ha lanzado apenas ayer. William Gibson dice sobre la novela: "Enteramente contemporánea y profundamente particular -- una combinación difícil de vencer (o, en estos días, de encontrar)." Ig...

    Trackback by Cyberf — February 4, 2004 @ 8:18 am

  26. I clicked the cover image to get a good look at the excellent art, and noticed the image proclaims:

    "From the uthor of Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom"

    "uthor" ? I hope someone caught that before the actual physical cover went to print :)

    Comment by mikepop — February 4, 2004 @ 8:41 am

  27. Cory on copyright

    If you were looking for a concise and erudite explanation of why conventional notions of copyright aren't keeping up with technology, and what can done about it, you could do a lot worse than read the comments on this posting...

    Trackback by TimZilla.net — February 4, 2004 @ 9:30 am

  28. Cory on copyright

    If you were looking for a concise and erudite explanation of why conventional notions of copyright aren't keeping up with technology, and what can done about it, you could do a lot worse than read the comments on this posting...

    Trackback by TimZilla.net — February 4, 2004 @ 9:30 am

  29. Questions:

    1. What would you imagine would be different (if anything) if you did things in reverse...that is, distributed the book for free through the internet, THEN tried to receive a contract for it?

    2. It seems to me that this is an exercise in branding. Give away free product, increase the value of the brand through increasing knowledge ABOUT the brand. What are the strengths of branding yourself in this instance?

    I ask both questions because I've been thinking about doing something very similar. I'd think that you'd be able to increase future revenue by (perhaps) shorting yourself in the short term.

    Comment by Lester Spence — February 4, 2004 @ 9:53 am

  30. Giving it away online

    Cory Doctorow, one of the co-editors at the blog Boing Boing, has released his second sci-fi novel Eastern Standard Tribe online at the same time it goes into bookstores. It began shipping yesterday. He explains why at his Craphound site....

    Trackback by L.A. Observed — February 4, 2004 @ 10:02 am

  31. http://www.lehopictures.com/links/archives/001845.php

    Eastern Standard Tribe...

    Trackback by links — February 4, 2004 @ 10:02 am

  32. One thing seems to be pointedly ignored by the nay-sayers, as it were.

    How many of them, or any of you for that matter, have ever had a friend lend you a book? How many of you have read a book and thought it was so well written, so perfect, that you had to recommend it to anyone and everyone you met?

    I suppose a quick example would be nice:
    Henry Rollins has several books available for purchase from his site, as well as bookstores. I own 3 books currently (one a collection of excerpts from 90% of his other books) and the only reason I own these is because a friend was willing to lend me one to read. After being completely blown away by it, I decided I needed my own copy to re-read, highlight, notate, etc... and hence my current love for anything written/spoken word from Mr. Rollins.

    According to Tribeless, I am a theif for having read the first book... Yet through that book I now own 3 books, 3 CD's, Autographed Poster and have paid to see the man Live.

    Somehow that doesn't equal the end of a medium to me. I think it boils down to the fact that these people will never bend in their strict black andw white views of legality.

    What a shame it is.

    Comment by SpeedRacr — February 4, 2004 @ 10:28 am

  33. The "e" in "Eastern Standard Tribe"

    I am really happy to see Cory's success spanning both printed book sales and free online distribution. I once chatted with Cory about his attitude with regards to his position as a copyright holder and came away very inspired by his committment to free

    Trackback by the iCite net development blog — February 4, 2004 @ 10:37 am

  34. A Place So Foreign and Eight More by Cory Doctorow

    Back when I was still swimming through Quicksilver, I would occasionally take a break from it and read some other things--my own version of short attention span, I suppose. One of the books I ambled through was Cory Doctorow's short story collection, A...

    Trackback by The Left Half of My Brain — February 4, 2004 @ 10:47 am

  35. After the C-Break!

    Feeling a bit better, still congested, a little slimy, but I'm making my way back uphill, so... Justin on Donnie Darko, The Graduate, and James Joyce. Don't miss his recent love letter to Secret of Mana, either. Got a couple...

    Trackback by The Things You Leave Behind v5.01 — February 4, 2004 @ 10:48 am

  36. Tribeless wrote: "Well if the book is under copyright (unlike Cory's), then morally, and legally, that is exactly what it is. What do you want me to call it?"

    How about copyright infringement?
    Legally, that's exactly what it is, theft is a different offense altogether.
    Morally, there's a gray area. If (yes, *if*, this is not a given) you think ideas and thoughts can be owned, then yeah, it's kinda sorta theft. Even this is stretching it, though - the ideas, thoughts or the art doesn't exchange hands, it's copied. If the infringer would have paid there's a possible loss of profit, sure, but that's not what theft is about.

    Oh, and in response to your other comment...I read Doctorow's first novel online. Yes, all of it. When I found it in a local bookstore, I bought it anyway.
    There's a huge number of people out there who enjoy paying for the art they like, whether or not its available for free. And it's not because they all prefer books to computer screens or CDs to mp3s.

    Comment by koala — February 4, 2004 @ 11:00 am

  37. The "moral" argument is also weakened by the nature of property value itself, and this is sort of restatement of the very good arguments already stated.

    We give money for things because we think they have value. For many reasons, a lot of products are no longer as valuable to people as the various producers of those products would like.

    It looks like good old capitalism and adapting supply to the demand of consumers are not good enough for the entertainment business. The biz seems to believe that if the customers don't like the package it has for sale, forcing the customers to buy it anyway should is the answer - (echoes of "Coupon: the Movie" from Mr. Show)

    What is immoral is purchasing the Federal Government's ability to force the "free" market into protecting an obsolete property-rights structure.

    Comment by Anonymous — February 4, 2004 @ 11:18 am

  38. Somebody wrote "We give money for things because we think they have value."

    Tribeless, your books have no value to me because I haven't had a chance to sample it, anything else you may have written. It is an unknown quantity that I'd have to invest time into after spending money to acquire. I could go to the library and read it. But that doesn't really help you much either. It is also additional time I would need to spend to try it.

    Cory's books, likewise have an unknown value to me, but I can find the book right here, right now, at no up front cost to me. If I don't like it, all I have lost is the time to read enough to find out I don't like it and I move on. I was a chance at a customer that you haven't had. If I like it, I may get tired of reading my display and get the book and that's a customer that he has gained that you didn't get a chance at. Or I might just buy the book because I enjoyed the whole story on my computer. (I have read plenty of fanfiction online that has more bytes than the file for this book has.)

    So, do you want any self-propelled advertisement, or do you want to exist in anonymity?

    IMarv

    Comment by IMarvinTPA — February 4, 2004 @ 11:40 am

  39. I read "Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom" and paypaled Cory $5. Why not? I'll hardly miss the $5, I enjoyed the book, I'm running out of room on my shelves anyway, it was a hell of a lot easier to loan the electronic book to friends than the physical book, I could carry it on my Pilot during my daily commute, and I had more fun for the $5 than I have at most movies.

    Sure I didn't have to pay the $5, but it seemed polite, like saying "please" and "thank you".

    If a writer got hundreds of thousands of readers who would not have otherwise read her book, entirely because of the ease of electronic publishing, and if only one in 20 did what I did to repay the writer, that writer could easily earn $50,000 from the electronic sales alone.

    Sounds like a way to earn a living to me.

    Comment by James Wetterau — February 4, 2004 @ 11:40 am

  40. Cory Wrote:

    "So tell me again: how is it that changing the nature of Hollywood's IP rights against its wishes is certain to kill the film industry because they'll be too poor to make movies?"

    Try this. Because every other type of property infringement in the film sector that you cited was essentially film maker/studio against film maker/studio, ie, despite probably being immoral :) regardless of this profits were still always being made from a 'paying' public and kept within the film industry?

    What we are looking at with file sharing films on the internet is something quite radically different. One person can now trade to potentially millions of others as easily as to one (which is why in the book industry the argument trotted out by someone above about how is file sharing an ebook any different to lending a real book to a friend, has never washed with me, its an insane comparison). Moreover, getting back to the film industry, it is no longer a film industry turning on itself against an always paying public, but a film industry now against a huge (sic above) and non paying public. It is a net potentially enormous cashflow out of the film industry itself. That is why I believe file sharing does endanger the existence of a professional film industry, and we will all be the poorer if that happens.

    I would hate to imagine my life without books or movies, thus, have always been happy to pay for them. The trouble with the internet is that for the first time (again given digitisation and the mass transfers which are available)the piper can be taken from the money route and not be paid.

    As for Anonymous's theory that he buys the real thing after he has read the pirated version, again, sorry and call me very cynical, but that doesn't wash with me either. I suspect the number of file sharers who would actually do that would be what? 1 in 100,000?

    For me this issue is devolving into two issues:

    1) moral. Nothing above has persuaded me that file sharing is not theft, and therefore, immoral. The way society is going, yes, but that should not be an excuse for sanctioning it.

    2) need to have a way for authors to make a living in our modern world. Don't ask me to prioritise between (1) and (2). As far as this goes then I admit, if Cory can make a good living from this, my argument breaks down completely. Although I would still say, what of the long term when no one buys dead tree books, which will surely come (it already is that way with me)? Doesn't Cory's model start breaking down then?

    (By the way, I started the book on my PPC last night when I went to bed, Cory, and am enjoying it :)

    Comment by Tribeless — February 4, 2004 @ 11:42 am

  41. Those who fight the future from the present by trying to keep society in the past are inevitably left behind.

    Comment by robert — February 4, 2004 @ 11:43 am

  42. Eric S. Raymond talked about this issue recently on his blog in a post entitled The Web and Identity Goods. I think he makes a good point that is relevent to this discussion. I did not realize that Corey put his books out on the web before I bought and read D&OitMK. In any case, I can't artfully lay a PDF file on my coffee table for visitors to see.

    Comment by Virginia Warren — February 4, 2004 @ 11:45 am

  43. A few thoughts in response to Tribeless...
    - Are all laws moral by definition?
    - Many artistic works are in the public domain - does that diminish their value?
    - The human drive to create art is motivated by many things, but money is not one of the top 5, IMNSHO.

    Art is a conversation, and, at its best, the fullest expression of what it means to be human. Art in all forms has been created for thousands of years without any commercial backing. Some of humanity's greatest artists never made a penny off of their art. And some of the best art today is being distributed for free on the Net (certainly compared to much of the commercially available art.)

    Technology makes file sharing possible (some might say inevitable.) It also makes it possible for almost anyone to create art - even in forms previously considered prohibitively expensive, such as movies. As with anything, you can't throw out the bad (file sharing, if you consider it bad) without throwing out the good.

    Thanks for the book, and the site, and the willingness to take risks, Cory.

    Comment by Michele — February 4, 2004 @ 11:55 am

  44. A question for Tribeless:

    You stated your two concerns as

    1) morality

    2) long term financial viability

    My 2 questions:

    1) Are libraries immoral?

    2) Do libraries prevent authors from making money?

    Should libraries therefore be banned?

    Comment by Anonymous — February 4, 2004 @ 11:57 am

  45. Cory Doctorow releases "Eastern Standard Tribe" with CC license

    Cory Doctorow has just released Eastern Standard Tribe, his second novel. His first, Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom apparently sold very well and I seem to remember Entertainment Weekly naming it one of the best of 2003. The...

    Trackback by Blue Sky On Mars — February 4, 2004 @ 11:58 am

  46. Tribeless:

    First of all, not everybody is convinced that works of authorship are in fact property--this idea is a relatively recent invention, and the overwhelming majority of art created during all of human history was created under conditions where no property rights of an author in his work were posited.

    The fact of the matter is that intellectual "property" does not have the essential characteristics of actual property, i.e. scarcity and rivalrousness.

    Intellectual "property" is not property--it is speech. Speech is not an object, it is a process, a relationship.

    Many "IP" proponents jump straight from this to whining that artists have a "right" to make money from their "intellectual property". Why? Does a shopkeeper have a "right" to make money from his actual property, i.e. his shop?

    Copyright and patent are not property rights, they are time-limited government-enforced monopolies, and they produce all of the same negative externalities of any other monopoly, especially rent-seeking.

    This is especially evident in the Hollywood movie industry, which is also heavily unionized, and with most of decisions about what art gets produced being made by non-artists, with a predictable effect on quality.

    The bottom line is, people will always be able to make money by producing works of authorship, because other people will always want them. This does not necessarily mean that the money will be made by selling the works of authorship themselves. I can download a MP3 from the Internet, but not a T-shirt. I can download a copy of Peter Jackson's "Lord of the Rings" but I can't download a Frodo action figure. I can download a book but I can't download the experience of meeting the author at a convention.

    Comment by Virginia Warren — February 4, 2004 @ 12:19 pm

  47. Tribeless wrote:
    "I would hate to imagine my life without books or movies, thus, have always been happy to pay for them."

    Why do you think you're alone in that view? Most people think the same way and thus would be perfectly happy to pay for a digital copy of Cory's book. This is why Cory's model won't break down when the sales of dead-tree books stop. The sale of dead-tree books is just a familiar way to get the money from the consumer to the author and if the consumers don't want to kill any more trees, it'll shift to Paypal instead. Or iTunes. Or iBooks, i Movies and iWhatever Jobs has up his sleeves.

    So what if just one in a hundred thousand * pays for the book if you can increase the volume by a million, at no cost for the author?

    * I believe it can be much, much more, but that's neither here nor there.

    Comment by Richie — February 4, 2004 @ 12:22 pm

  48. I would just like to say cheers to cory for deciding to offer his works online. I would also like to point out that the music industry is now making truckloads of cash from the legal online music download system (iTunes ...). One of the main reasons that file swapping became so popular, in my opinion, is because it enabled people to do a couple of things. The first being the ability to aquire a single song instead of a whole album. Why should a consumer be forced to purchase a collection of works from a musician if all they want is one? Thats like saying in order to read one book by an author you need to buy them all. The second being the ability to search for a song without knowing all of the meta data about the song (artist, albumn, and sometimes track name). Most people don't want to rip off the artists and provided with a good (resonably priced and with comparible utility) legal alternative will usually choose it over the illegal variant. The DRM on these services is really just enough to keep the honest people honest. If someone is determined they can easily circumvent it.
    This is the first time I have ever come to this site. The reason I came here is because slashdot posted an article talking about Cory. I intend to check out his books and like so many others I much prefer reading a paper copy to an eCopy. Go cory! I havn't found the paypal link yet but if you have one and I find it I will give you five bucks just for being an innovater.

    Comment by Matthew — February 4, 2004 @ 12:28 pm

  49. Back when Napster actually worked and stuff, I downloaded lots of songs, to try and find new (or old) music actually worth buying. In this fashion I more or less accidentally discovered what is now my favorite genre of music. Since that time I've bought literally 200+ CDs of music from said genre (along with related magazines and DVDs), most or all of which I never would have given a chance or a glance if I hadn't been able to try the music for free. Now, sadly, Napster is no more, and I have neither the time nor the patience to try "new, improved" versions of *GASP* illegal file sharing software, so...I just listen to the stuff I know I will like. I'm happy enough: though I don't find new things that I might like, I also don't waste money trying things I'll end up hating. The music industry is losing out on potential sales of hundreds of CDs and auxiliary gear, but that's no skin off my nose. Let them enjoy their "injunctive relief from all that lovely money."

    Comment by Anonymous2 — February 4, 2004 @ 12:42 pm

  50. David More writes: "What about when everybody only reads ebooks on hand devices?"

    Well yes read it that way if you like - despite the backlit eye-strain - but I don't see it catching on, do you? How about choice...do you have much choice in books? Anyway if it were the case that everyone was reading on hand held devices, without some sharing control, would not the writer lose his incentive to write?

    The fact is a book cannot be copied +conveniently+ by anyone, nor shared instantly on a mass scale and this is an advantage for the writer that cannot yet be competed with.

    Comment by Philip — February 4, 2004 @ 12:46 pm

  51. Corey Doctorow: Intellectual Pioneer

    Corey Doctorow, editor of Boing Boing and science-fiction author, distributed the full text of his first novel Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom freely on the internet: hundreds of thousands of people downloaded it. In total defiance of what...

    Trackback by Catallarchy.net — February 4, 2004 @ 12:47 pm

  52. Movies will still bring in plenty of money because nothing beats that movie theater experience.

    Music will still bring in plenty of money because nothing beats that concert experience.

    Books will still bring in plenty of money because nothing beats that paperback-in-the-hand experience.

    It's all a question of creating and capitalizing on value. "Free" distribution of inferior formats that don't equal the above experiences serves a sampling function, which enhances the possibility of a future purchase.

    And BTW, it's not really "free" distribution. All of those people who were buying equipment for recording movies were paying for cable TV, videotape rentals, blank tapes, VCRs, television sets, etc. etc.

    I will come back to talk with you in 15 years, too. Because I do know that if DRM is ever successful, the economy will suffer. Cory is creating a viable economic engine. DRM hurts the economy.

    Comment by Tribeful — February 4, 2004 @ 12:48 pm

  53. Cory mentioned Baen books in one of his posts. Eric Flint, an author published by Baen, has a series of articles on the site most of which deal with the legalities and social attitudes that the copyright laws now face.

    There's some excellent reading there. If you go make sure to check out the speech Thomas Macaulay made to Parliament in 1841 regarding copyrights.

    Baen Free Books

    Eric Flint's articles

    Comment by Jason — February 4, 2004 @ 12:52 pm

  54. Hi,

    I find this discussion quite interesting. ATM I'm still going to school. We're reading about 10 to 12 books a year in the German lessons (yes I'm from Germany). Most of them are available online (like Goethe, Horvath, Schiller etc.). So first thing I do when I get informed about a book we'll soon read is downloading it from gutenberg.net . If it's not available there I try to get it on the p2p network. I do buy all those school books I download because I need them for tests and I also like to mark some interesting sections.
    But I'm also a filesharer, that means that I download books from p2p-networks. Most of them are sci-documentations. The reason for doing this is, that there's no other affordable source for getting them. I can't pay much money cause my budget is quite limited (20€/month). This means that I could afford a max. of 12 books of the price "Eastern Standard Tribe" is / year if I invested all my money in books. This is IMHO not enough if you want to keep mature, because TV doesn't do that job any longer (it's just filled with those reality-show, talk-show etc. crap).

    Thanks for the book and I promise that, if I like the book, I'll buy it, even if would prefer to make a paypal donation of about 10€ than paying 21,95€ for the printed version.

    Comment by daniel — February 4, 2004 @ 1:13 pm

  55. Speaking as an avid reader I'm delighted to see Cory's experiment and particularly impressed to see that he recognises that the most valuable resource in this equation is me and the others like me - the (potential) readers. By coincidence I'd heard of "Down and out in the magic kingdom" earlier today and had flagged it for further investigation when I had the chance. I'm an avid reader - and an avid purchaser of dead tree books, I spend a couple of hundred euro a month on physical books because I love reading them. But I have a limited capacity and my favourite authors (of which there are many) have written lots of books and many of them are still writing so Cory's chances of me seeing enough of his book for me to decide whether I'd buy it or not were slim. I have a list of about 20 books right now that I already know I want to buy so new authors to me get relegated to the end of a fairly long list. I might have gotten around to "Down and out.." sometime any way because I am an avid reader but this experiment guarantees Cory (and Tor) a marketing opportunity for me to read it now, while I have the time. If I like it, it will rapidly rise up my purchase list as I always want to have a dead tree copy of a good book and it will almost certainly be bought. This is using the technology to market a product efficiently. The high value product for me is having a physical copy of something that is good, that I will pay for, I hate paying for something that might not be good. Most people who buy books now are no different, sure there may be untold millions who may download for free and never buy but they almost certainly wouldn't have in any case. These people were mostly never potential buyers anyway - and even if a small minority of the small minority who are end up buying the book then everyone wins.

    As a response to Tribeless's comments on DRM I've bought quite a few DRM "restricted" eBooks in the past but I stopped wasting my money on them following the revocation of my licence to read one single book. I'd paid for it, and read it a few times - but the developer of the reader in question changed the license over time and I did not want to accept those changes when I moved to a new platform. As far as I'm concerned that really is theft. I paid for this stuff - they took it away without my consent and most importantly I no longer have the ability to use what I have paid for. Could I get it back? Probably if I accept the change in license which I wont. The annoyance this caused me has turned me from someone who thought that DRM was bad but acceptable if I had no choice to someone who refuses point blank to have anything to do with it. I will never again pay for something that gives someone else control of my property. That is the problem with DRM systems - they take away my rights. And thus one more potentially very profitable consumer exits that market.

    As a final thought to Tribeless - and an echo of IMarvinTPA's comment above - it is extremely unlikely that your book(s) will become valuable enough for me to want to buy so you are never likely to have me as a reader following your current approach. And we the readers are the people you need in order to actually be successful. You may score and get a good book deal but even then you need to get lots of us to read your work if your art (and career longevity) is to have a chance to really succeed. Cory however has the perfect marketing opportunity and has a good chance of making a sale in the short term and repeat custom in the long term. I'm the valuable resource you both need, Cory is the only one making a pitch for the sale.

    I'm off to download and read as one very happy reader. Cory - if it's even a tenth as good as your comments in this list you've made that sale.

    Comment by Helvick — February 4, 2004 @ 1:35 pm

  56. Cory,

    I'm really curious, is the "uthor" typo that mikepop pointed out really a typo? I haven't read the book yet, so if it's explained inside the book, I'll find out soon.

    Comment by Paul — February 4, 2004 @ 1:43 pm

  57. the beginnings of music, art and storytelling all predate the invention of money by a long shot, and people have continued to create the same across all cultures and in all time periods. it's tremendously arrogant to assume that's all going to grind to a halt simply because the current system for funding these activities, a system a scant few decades old, is being modified in response to techonological change. it's a completely absurd, paranoid fantasy being shilled by people who have a vested interest in keeping things the way they are, most of whom are not the artists themselves.

    all the media mentioned so far - books, music, and movies - have huge advantages in terms of convenience that most people are willing to pay for. dead tree books are a hell of a lot more convenient than any electronic format, or even anything printed from a home computer, certainly convenient enough to pay for.

    music has similar advantages - i'll gladly pay $0.99 to download from Warp Records and be sure that the file i'm downloading is properly labelled, free of errors, and will finish downloading without the other guy logging out first. in any case, the vast majority of musicians make no money (or even lose money) on CD sales. for them, recorded music is basically just publicity for concert tickets and merchandise, both of which i'm quite happy to blow my paycheck on and neither of which can be downloaded through a cable line.

    and movies? are you kidding? i don't know about you, but for most movies, especially the really big-budget ones, just aren't the same on DVD, much less on a laptop. people can buy bootleg DVDs or download them on the internet right now, but the new LOTR still has lines around the block on opening night, because you're selling the theater experience. there's a huge market for seeing things on the big screen. hell, i would pay money to see movies i've already seen and which i own in multiple home-viewing formats just to get the chance to see them on the big screen. if people start setting up guerilla theater chains, you'll have a point, but until then...

    in any case, voluntary payment systems work, as do most voluntary systems, because the amount of resources you conserve by catching people slacking seldom, if ever, outweighs the cost of monitoring and enforcement, because reputation systems are powerful motivators and people like to feel generous. look at Ricardo Semla as just one example.

    it's also worth noting that only a tiny minority of writers, musicians, etc. ever make enough money making art to live on under the current system. so many things we read or listen to or whatever are made by people with outside sources of income (read: day jobs). even if we want to play Chicken Little and imagine that the entire media industry is going to collapse, and that everything will be made by amateurs, you wouldn't really notice a huge difference, because a lot of it is made by amateurs *now.*

    as far as the moral case goes, Tribeless - first, the idea that you can "own" an idea is deeply, deeply flawed on many levels, as many people here have pointed out, and your argument really doesn't have a leg to stand on without it.

    more importantly, morality is not a set of absolute principles, but derives from what people in a society choose to do and choose to value. it comes from common practice and social relationships, it does not dictate them. this is an oversimplification, but as a rule of thumb, if everyone's doing it, and it doesn't involve genocide or rampant ecological destruction or something, then it's basically OK, and the moral burden shifts to those who are in a position to either interfere with people in the progress of their lives, or to help them. choosing to squash an emerging socioeconomic system which is working because of self-centered and wrongheaded interest in maintaining a system which does not work is, IMHO, fundamentally immoral.

    contrary to what you've been saying, if everyone's doing it, that is *every* reason to endorse it, and the only issue which remains is figuring out the details of how its going to work in everyday practice.

    Comment by dizfactor — February 4, 2004 @ 1:48 pm

  58. I believe that the future lies in a vast Internet-like sea of content, supplied by a variety of "content providers". The content (text, music, video) will be free for the price of a connection to the network. The content providers will be remunerated from a common pool of funds collected by the network providers based on popularity of the contributions.

    For example, 15 years into the future, a famous science fiction writer Cory Doctorow puts out smash hit novel after hit novel, and hundreds of thousands eagerly download his works, maintain fanzines about them, discuss them online, and send Cory fan email and plot suggestions. This amount of attention earns Cory some significant income. The Network Budgeting Authority (funded by network subscription fees) issues Cory payment commensurate with the "hits" that he has earned from his popularity as a writer. Cory is a good content provider who makes the network a more interesting place for everyone.

    Other content providers are less popular and earn less money but still do it to see their name in lights and to achieve a kind of immortality.

    Copycats who publish someone else's material without permission are cut out of the money loop. If a copycat takes some content, improves on it, and gets the original content provider's permission to publish it, they can work out a deal to split the proceeds. Perhaps the work is accessible only from the originator's site, with a trickle-over to the copycat to thank him for his contribution.

    In this future society, prestige and success in the networked world is based on one's artistic abilities, not one's marketing or political skills.

    This vision is incomplete, of course; it's questionable what incentives there are to create such an Authority to fund content providers. Perhaps advertising will be the real way that popular sites are funded in the future. Anyway, it's a stab at a definition of the future, copyright-less, copy-protection-less world that is inevitably coming.

    -Blisterpeanuts

    Comment by Blisterpeanuts — February 4, 2004 @ 2:12 pm

  59. One development that I think may have a big effect on electronic distribution of books is the advancement of paper-like displays. Philips recently announced some prototype success in making 5" grayscale flexible displays that look more like ink and paper than an LCD.

    A portable device, such as a letter size sheet of this with a processing and controls strip down one side, would be a very acceptable paperback replacement in my eyes.

    Comment by bob — February 4, 2004 @ 2:16 pm

  60. I’m very excited to see other authors and publishers taking up this experiment in social and technological evolution. I sincerely believe that your efforts, and the efforts of those authors involved in the Baen project, will be the compass that points towards the path of future digital publishing methods and rights.

    My own situation is quite similar to that of a couple of the people who’ve already posted here … as a poor college student, I couldn’t afford a great many things, and ‘piracy’ was the solution. Yes, I downloaded quite a bit … Napster, Morpheus, Kazaa for music, movies, anime, etc. Would I have purchased the materials if I wasn’t able to download them? No.

    Fast forward to today (4 years after graduating with 2 degrees in Anthropology): According to my database, I have over 1430 DVD titles. My CD collection is around 400 titles. I worked in the gaming industry for a few years, and consequently didn’t actually purchase many games, since they were given to me by the publishers of the software … but I would have. (As a side note on DRM … Every single one of my games which has DRM, purchased or given, is cracked. I don’t want to put the CD in the drive, or some such nonsense, to play a game I already purchased. DRM doesn’t stop people who truly want to pirate the software, it simply makes it inconvenient for the people who purchased it legitimately.)

    Do I still download material from the net? Absolutely. BitTorrent is my friend ... Mostly, I download fansubbed anime, using the “ethical fansub� rules. When the title is released on Region 1 DVD, purchase it if you like the show, but stop distributing it as soon as it’s licensed for Region 1. I still download the occasional movie, such as Return of the King … and when it comes out on DVD, I’ll purchase it the same day it’s released. The studio has lost no money … I’ve purchased tickets to watch it at the theater, and I’ll purchase it when it comes out on DVD, as well. Everyone’s a winner.

    When I heard that Baen was making some of their books available online, I was ecstatic. I’m now a frequent shopper at Baen’s online bookstore, purchasing many of the books that I already downloaded for free, and many others for which they give teasers, as well. I’ve since gone questing to the websites of other publishers, like Tor, Bantam, DelRey, etc., looking for similar digital book distributions, to no avail. I’ve been to the online section of bookstores (B&N, Amazon, and such), all of which feature DRM restrictive formats of titles … if the title that I’m looking for is even available, that is.

    So what do I do? I end up looking for “illegal� copies of books that I already own, online. Failing that, I usually end up doing the unthinkable … ripping pages out of a book to run it through a scanner so that I can transform the hardcopy into digital format using OCR (Optical Character Recognition) software so I can make my own digital copy for my PDA. Then I have to proof the resulting document, since no OCR scan is ever 100 percent error-free. As you can imagine, this is a rather time consuming process. Picture doing it to Robert Jordan’s “Wheel of Time� series … around 7500 pages, total. Why do I go through all the effort of doing this? I’m a mobile person, and I want/need mobile entertainment.

    A few examples for publishers to keep in mind:
    (1) Hardcopy books are heavy. As a child of military parents, and working as a military contractor, I have a tendency to move every couple of years. In the past, I’ve gotten into the habit of sending a shipment of my books to a single storage unit every six months. I’m usually at least 3 or 4 states away from this storage unit at any given time, due to the realities of my job. This makes picking out a hardcopy book for a weekend reading session rather difficult.
    (2) Hardcopy books take up a lot of space. My entire family, and most of my friends, are all avid readers. I personally had a collection of more than 400 books by the time I was 14. I haven’t even bothered trying to make a database of my book collection (partially because 90 percent of my collection is in a storage unit 3 states away), but I know it’s well over the 2000 mark.
    (3) Old hardcopy books are impossible to replace if they’re out of print. One box of books which was shipped to my storage unit arrived with water damage … inside that box were some books that I had purchased in my early teens, and there was no way to replace them, leaving me with unreadable copies of books that I loved.

    Comment by JamCon — February 4, 2004 @ 2:33 pm

  61. Congratulations on the new book! I will surely be purchasing a copy directly.

    Regarding file sharing, I find it funny that many of the posts here assert this or that about filesharing without really discussing the basic "problem". To wit, that there is no law of conservation in the digital world. I think we can all agree that Mr. Doctorow's works have instrinsic value (x), but what does that mean when you can copy a digital version of them for free (x + x = x)? We should all be asking ourselves those questions instead of justifying our thefts* or justifying an outdated and unfair publishing system.

    I'd be interested to hear proposals for solutions. I think Mr. Doctorow's proposed a very interesting one in the Whuffie system described in "Down and Out...". It's an elegant reduction of our complex socio-economic equation to a simple linear relationship between Whuffie and goods/services, where Whuffie is a person's "social net-worth". This nicely solves the Digital Rights problem in that Mr. Doctorow would be compensated, based on the number of people who viewed his works, by increased Whuffie. Whuffie, like digital goods/services, does not adhere to a conservation law since Whuffie is earned (created), but need not be paid (lost).

    Robert Jamison

    * Let's not mince words, it is theft if you did not compensate the Author/Performer/Composer. It's not their fault that the best way for them to get compensation is through a publisher or record label. I commend Mr. Doctorow for putting his principals ahead of getting every-bit of the compensation that he truly deserves.

    Comment by Robert Jamison — February 4, 2004 @ 3:09 pm

  62. Come on Tribeless, admit it: You are Cory Doctorow.

    Comment by Anonymous — February 4, 2004 @ 3:37 pm

  63. mmm. The above post is one that must be rectified very quickly.

    No, Tribeless is NOT Cory.

    Go to the Claire Wolfe 'freedom' forum below, go to the General Discussion link, and the the IP/Copyright link (the biggest thread there) and you'll see very clearly we are different.

    Plus I've read some of Cory's (Mr Doctorow's - never know how formality works on the Net) novel, and by now his co-authored short story 'Jury Service' on Sci-fi.com, and can say at this part of his career, he's a much better writer than myself :(

    Although I guess the above post was a 'Troll'? Anyway, the link is:

    http://www.thementalmilitia.org/clairefiles/

    Plus I definitely don't agree with Cory's approach to selling his novel, as I've made abundently clear, although, as the cliche goes, would die fighting for his right/freedom to sell it however he wants. Well, perhaps die is too stronger a word ... :)

    Finally, and I wish I had more time for this, but I don't, regarding my 'last' post above about movies, I hold to that, but add the qualification that even if movies do survive file sharing/looting, they will be in a very different form; that is, low budget extended sitcoms. Yuk. I also have no truck with the theory that movies will always out because of the big movie experience: I have in my home a full surround sound (better than you'll get in a theatre) home theatre built round great gear and a 60 inch plasma ... why would I want to go to the movies where I can't even get up to get a coffee or a beer whenever I want to?

    (Yeah, I'm not quite the 'struggling' writer - the day job pays pretty well - I lied a bit to make point, so shoot me. At least I sleep straight at night because I don't steal the livelihoods of those authors who think they are protected by using 'traditional' copyright. My moral point is the file sharers who share/loot those books KNOW they are breaching the wishes/contract with those author (Cory not included, given his experiment), and that is immoral :) )

    And there must always be a place for morality, otherwise we all end up ultimately in an even nastier world.

    Comment by Tribeless — February 4, 2004 @ 4:55 pm

  64. Exellent Cory.
    Heard your book title and name in passing a while back, but now I'm moving you into my read next slot. Anyone with this kind of insight and vision is a must read for me.

    You Rock!!

    Comment by garsmaz — February 4, 2004 @ 5:47 pm

  65. Forgive me, Tribeless, but I must ask for clarification. You bring up "morality" quite a bit. I put it in quotes simply because I don't fully understand what you mean by this. What are "morals" in your view?

    I'm not trolling, I honestly want to know, in order to better understand the context of your comments.

    Comment by zoobie — February 4, 2004 @ 6:03 pm

  66. zoobie: in this context, morality is not stealing an author's work and so denying them a rightful livelihood. I'll be more specific. No matter what level of intellectual abstraction you apply to these issues, at a base level every file sharer who shares/loots an etext of an author/publisher who has chosen to use the existing copyright convention, knows they are breaching a contract with that author/publisher. Moreover, they are consciously breaching that contract by a deliberate act. This is categorically theft; there is no other way to describe this specific act. As such, it is deeply immoral.

    In contrast, file sharing Cory's book is not immoral as it is not theft for he has overtly sanctioned this. Not so with probably 99% of the other authors'and songsters having their livelihoods looted.

    Finally, citing the changing technology which makes sharing these files so easy as an 'excuse' is a complete cop out. Change is great, joyful (I LOVE technology), but it doesn't change basic morality.

    Ayn Rand: "A is A". Well in this context, theft is theft - every file sharer knows it.

    Comment by Tribeless — February 4, 2004 @ 7:01 pm

  67. You Cory are a Good Good man, This evolution I have waited for since I met the internet in 93. When tradition dictates doing something a particular way you have a choice to make. Choose the tested path or beat a new one. Thank you for allowing more potential.

    Comment by Stephen — February 4, 2004 @ 7:29 pm

  68. Édition, éducation, logiciels libres, etc.

    Deux textes intéressants aujourd'hui sur ConstellationW3. Dans le premier, Brunot Boutot nous présente un auteur qui publie simultanément un roman sous forme de livre et le rend accessible gratuitement sur le Web. Le plus intéressant, c'est qu'il prend...

    Trackback by Opossum — February 4, 2004 @ 7:36 pm

  69. Tribeless-- I can't speak to morality. That's a debate that would never end. Aside from that: iTunes. iTunes is a success, and others are rushing to copy it. Because, yes, downloading music for free is fairly easy, but *most* people would rather pay a reasonable fee for ease of access to a large music database and superior quality. Plus, the people who refused to used Kazaa can get on board too.

    The film industry will eventually realize that broadband and copy-technology will not go away. They will see that multiple millions of people sitting in front of their CRTs watching films are potential customers. They will stop, consider, and reorganize to sell hi-quality first-run films over the net. And it will be a success, and art will not die.

    In the interim, films will be stolen. The longer Hollywood takes to sort this out, the longer people will be getting robbed.

    Comment by Jamesmith — February 4, 2004 @ 7:38 pm

  70. Also sprach Tribeless --

    Plus I definitely don't agree with Cory's approach to selling his novel, as I've made abundently clear

    Why, again? You seem to say you're only interested in protecting art / content creators' livelihoods (i.e. profitability), and then go on to slag what is proving to be a *very* effective distribution system.

    Make sense, or you will be ignored, Tribeless.

    Also sprach Tribeless --

    Finally, and I wish I had more time for this, but I don't, regarding my 'last' post above about movies, I hold to that, but add the qualification that even if movies do survive file sharing/looting, they will be in a very different form; that is, low budget extended sitcoms.

    Yeah, and that will be *so* much worse than the current bloated-budget sitcom monstrosities ("Gigli", anyone?). Some of the best movies I've seen have been cheap indie productions, done because someone *wanted* to. Go see "El Mariachi", made for around US$10K.

    Also sprach Tribeless --

    I also have no truck with the theory that movies will always out because of the big movie experience: I have in my home a full surround sound (better than you'll get in a theatre) home theatre built round great gear and a 60 inch plasma ... why would I want to go to the movies where I can't even get up to get a coffee or a beer whenever I want to?

    You can clearly afford such luxuries. For those of us who can't (i.e. the vast majority of the human population), the movie theatre is the best big venue available.

    Or are you implying that you presently pirate movies yourself, to enjoy at home on your expensive setup? After all, why *would* you go to the theatre after spending so much on all that equipment? I'm not accusing you, simply using rhetoric to make a point -- even after all you've put into your home theatre, (I'm guessing) you still go to the movies. Why wouldn't others?

    Also sprach Tribeless --

    Yeah, I'm not quite the 'struggling' writer - the day job pays pretty well - I lied a bit to make point, so shoot me.

    You bring up morality numerous times throughout this thread. But then you go and impugn your own morals, showing you have no compunction against lying to make a point. Not a good way to gain your audience's confidence in what you're saying.

    Also sprach Tribeless --

    At least I sleep straight at night because I don't steal the livelihoods of those authors who think they are protected by using 'traditional' copyright. My moral point is the file sharers who share/loot those books KNOW they are breaching the wishes/contract with those author (Cory not included, given his experiment), and that is immoral :) )

    Step outside of your Me-Me boundaries for just a moment, Tribeless. I know it's hard; heck, your username says enough. But try for just a moment. Have you ever heard of a concept known as "The Greater Good"? This incessant expansion of property rights into the realm of ideas is getting directly in the way of The Greater Good. Have a look at Spider Robinson's story Melancholy Elephants. It begins to explore why idea ownership is a truly Bad Thingâ„¢.

    And let's look at this idea of "copyright". As the Constitution itself lays out (my emphasis):

    To promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries;

    The original copyright laws that set forth those "limited times" described a period of 14 years, extendable once after the initial expiration of such rights, for a grand total of 28 years. The basic idea was to set aside a period of time during which the initial author/creator would have a monopoly on the created work. This was solely to provide an incentive to creation, in the theory that such work collectively aids in the growth of The Greater Good. After the end of the copyright period, all rights to the work would go to the public domain.

    Given that most marketed creations pay back the initial investment within the first couple of years, there is no real justification, that fits the initial intent of copyright, to the continuing extension by Congress of the copyright term. The current system of super-long copyright terms has become a means for major media companies to continue squeezing a profit out of the public. Steamboat Willie, by any measure of common sense, should be in the public domain. Not only has Walt Disney been well recompensed for the hours that went into making the animated short, but he is now also dead. I fail to see why I should shell out money for something, when the sale only goes to pad a corporation's bottom line, and has no correlation to the effort put into creation.

    How is corporate lobbying for longer copyrights, essentially stealing corporate-owned content from the public domain, any different in your view from me downloading a ripped copy of Steamboat Willie and showing it at my kid's birthday party? Are both stealing? Or do you see a qualitative difference? I'm curious. Or, as a previous poster asked, do you simply see all laws as inherently moral, no matter the politics that went into their writing?

    For present-day works, the few things I have had the audacity to "loot", as you so delicately put it, I have either disliked (and hence will not buy) or enjoyed (and have since bought, or at least put on my wish list). As others have noted, a large percentage of these items were in genres I would never have experimented with if I'd had to pay money up front, without even knowing what it was I was buying.

    Morality aside, the biggest issue that seems to motivate your argument is personal profit. There are plenty in this world who measure life with another yardstick. Ever heard of open source? Ever heard of the Creative Commons before seeing it mentioned on this page? Ever seen Death Star Repairmen, a very funny short movie made without a direct profit motive? The web abounds with freely-available content, quite a bit of which is freely available because the author/creator wants it that way.

    So the Creative Commons makes you feel threatened, and makes you feel like you won't just be able to make up stories to afford your 60" plasma screen home theatre set up. Excuse me, but boo hoo. It's working for Doctorow, a similar concept is working for MP3.com, and movie sales are still experiencing a long-term rise, despite (or because of?) all this "pirating" going on. If getting pirated could do so much for me, I could only wish I'm so lucky.

    Open your eyes, Tribeless. The world is changing. Despite the apparent ire in this post, I sincerely wish you well. Figure it out. Don't wind up being forgotten and irrelevant like the Vaudeville holdouts of years past.

    Comment by sl1ck3r — February 4, 2004 @ 7:55 pm

  71. (up towards the top there, Tribless wrote:)

    > You may very well be having hundreds of
    > thousands of your books read, but are you
    > making a living from it? How are you
    > making money?
    >
    > If you are not making a living from your
    > writing, then aren't you helping put
    > another nail in the coffin of every
    > wannabe writer today. The book/ebook
    > market, and hence books, will be
    > destroyed.
    >
    > I am confused.

    So'm I. Why do you want to write? To tell a story? Or just to make a buck?

    Comment by Hernh? — February 4, 2004 @ 8:03 pm

  72. Re: "uther" -- yeah, it's a typo. Thankfully, I'm told it doesn't appear on the physical book. I'm waiting for a corrected art-file.

    Comment by Cory Doctorow — February 4, 2004 @ 9:44 pm

  73. I will not hold a flame war in Cory Doctorow's book sale promotion ... unless the author himself sanctions it - because I don't mind otherwise. Thus, unless Cory posts some guidelines, this may be my last post.

    Hernh wrote:

    "So'm I. Why do you want to write? To tell a story? Or just to make a buck?"

    Nothing wrong with profit. Indeed, capitalism, being the economic system of freedom, is predicated on it. No apologies whatsoever. Think of the alternative - yes, its that life hating insanity called communism.

    Or, on a more pragmatic level, to write a writer needs to make a buck. No money = no market = no books, etc.

    Now to sl1ck3r, a rather different character altogether. The rest of the quotes are from him/her. But first an irrelvancy. Both Cory and you mention the "Vaudeville holdouts of years past". I'm not an American, and have to say have no idea what the references here are to. I don't have time to look it up on the Net, so perhaps one of you might like to supply an appropriate reference.

    Now to the substantive parts of your post - I seem to threaten you somewhat; perhaps you should declare yourself of any vested interest: ie, are you a file sharer?

    You wrote: "Why, again? You seem to say you're only interested in protecting art / content creators' livelihoods (i.e. profitability), and then go on to slag what is proving to be a *very* effective distribution system."

    I have never 'slagged' Cory; I have simply disagreed for the reasons given - go back and read my posts. The difference between 'slagged' and a disagreement is, well, civilisation.

    "Yeah, and that will be *so* much worse than the current bloated-budget sitcom monstrosities ("Gigli", anyone?). Some of the best movies I've seen have been cheap indie productions, done because someone *wanted* to. Go see "El Mariachi", made for around US$10K."

    Your preferences are irrelevant. I want the choice of what I watch.

    "You can clearly afford such luxuries [home theatre]. For those of us who can't (i.e. the vast majority of the human population), the movie theatre is the best big venue available"

    Part of my disagreement with Cory's method is the likely, IMO, negative long term effects. As time goes on, and despite the lefts' best efforts to destroy capitalism, our standards of living are constantly increasing and soon home theatre will be the norm. Indeed, I come from New Zealand, and to be honest it almost is now.

    If you don't have enough money to afford a decent system (and it doesn't actually cost much), then perhaps you just need to work a bit harder, or take a few more risks (unless, of course, you a creator who is having your livelihood file shared away from you; in that case yours is a reprehensible position I have full sympathy (although I rather suspect you may perhaps be in the other camp).

    "Step outside of your Me-Me boundaries for just a moment, Tribeless. I know it's hard; heck, your username says enough. But try for just a moment. Have you ever heard of a concept known as "The Greater Good"? This incessant expansion of property rights into the realm of ideas is getting directly in the way of The Greater Good"

    People who talk about the 'greater good' always worry me, because experience tells me this means they want to tax me more so they can buy everybody else into 'their' greater good. I'm proud of my user name, unashamedly: I don't belong to any collective or tribe, I'm a free man standing proudly on my own two feet. You got a problem with that? But actually 'me me' was not my focus at all; if you re-read my first two posts you will see what started this off was my concern for the creative arts ...

    In the rest of your argument you made some interesting points. But, note, what I have been talking about is the immorality of file sharing. I also gave the specific set of circumstances that I was referring to: ie, individuals who deliberately go against an authors/songsters wishes, and share/loot their material - what do you call that if not theft (and don't give me the changing technology BS)?

    To take some of your points, you said:

    "How is corporate lobbying for longer copyrights, essentially stealing corporate-owned content from the public domain, any different in your view from me downloading a ripped copy of Steamboat Willie and showing it at my kid's birthday party? Are both stealing? Or do you see a qualitative difference? I'm curious. Or, as a previous poster asked, do you simply see all laws as inherently moral, no matter the politics that went into their writing?"

    There is just a huge difference here and if you don't grasp it then my task is pretty impossible to convince you otherwise. Let me answer by saying that I don't think copyright is for anywhere long enough. If I lived in a truly free society, then I should have complete control over my intellectual property (IP) not only for my life, but beyond. It should be my choice as to whether my IP EVER goes into public domain. Its my IP afterall. Yes, this will mean many works of art will be lost to time, however, I would rather be a free man than reading Shakespeare in a Communist gulag.

    To reiterate: to file share is to steal. To lengthen copyright is to set the individual who owns the IP free.

    "Morality aside, ... "

    That is precisely the problem with your argument, as it is the basis for my disagreement with Cory ...

    "the biggest issue that seems to motivate your argument is personal profit. "

    No apologies ever for profit, unless gained by ill or immoral means. See the start of this post. If you want to live in a free society, then you better get to grips with the fact that it is only the making of profit that makes this possible. Indeed, in a sense my disagreement with Cory might be boiled down to the best way for him to profit. He thinks his experiment may be the way (and by the sound of it for now it is), I would argue that long term he may be shooting himself in the foot. But then, a dollar in the hand now is worth a lot more than in a year's time, so good on Cory!

    Now the noble Tribeless is going to put away his keyboard until Cory gives some guidelines for this venue, which is his, afterall.

    Comment by Tribeless — February 4, 2004 @ 9:56 pm

  74. I followed this link after hearing about it from Warren Ellis on Bad Signal, and I must say I'm quite impressed by this idea. I truly respect you for using this unconventional method to promote your book, and wish you good luck with discovering the future of the book - I know I'm anxious to learn all about it.
    I have already downloaded the file and looking forward to reading it.

    Comment by Avner — February 4, 2004 @ 10:10 pm

  75. The pace of this discussion has outstripped my ability to participate, but don't let that stop you.

    Comment by Cory Doctorow — February 4, 2004 @ 11:49 pm

  76. The name Cory L. Doctorow simply smacked of legitimacy, even before I realized it was the same guy whose work I'd stolen so long ago.

    Comment by sargon — February 5, 2004 @ 1:10 am

  77. Calling file sharers looters may be a non-starter for you, but it isn;t for a great many others. I think they are thieves, pure and simple, and my property is my propperty, no matter what the technological state of the world. One has nothing to do with the other. Because technology makes theft easier does not justify the theft. Neither does the fact that as many as 70,000,000 are thieves.

    Maybe a free e-book did help your sales, but I see no way at all for you to know this or prove it. I know for a fact that if I can own a book free, I will not buy a copy. I can simply find no logical reason to buy a print book when I already own the e-book.

    I may buy furtue books from the writer if they aren't available as free e-books, and this has value, but that's it.

    Comment by James A. Ritchie — February 5, 2004 @ 1:43 am

  78. I'm surprised that no-one has mentioned the idea of "ransom-ware". There has been some discussion on what might happen if paper books go away entirely but no mention of viable solutions to the problem (DRM is not a viable solution).

    If an author wants $100,000 per book then they could ransom it, put it in escrow to be released for free once the $100K has been stored in an escrow account. This will cut out the middle-men (book stores, publishers, etc) and mean that 99% of money paid goes to the author. $100K could be raised by 100,000 people paying $1, 10 people paying $10K, or one person/organization paying the lot.

    Payments towards the ransom could be anonymous or they could be publically listed depending on the desires of the people paying. If some of my favourite authors started ransoming their works then I would pay up to $1000 towards some of them. Buying >30 books at $27 each in a year is my usual practise. Of that possible 30% goes to the authors. Paying $1000 to one author means no wasted money on middle-men and would be good for my reputation among other people who like the same books as me.

    Also there's the possibility of work for hire. If you are a professional author and someone says "I'll pay you $1M if you release another book in my favourite series" then you'll probably be interested in writing it.

    I write free software for a living. The people who pay money to my employer are a small minority among the people who use it. My employer is happy with this situation, and I'm happy to get paid what I would do for fun anyway. It works.

    Comment by Russell Coker — February 5, 2004 @ 3:14 am

  79. James, it astonishing to me that someone who believes that IP is property (which it isn't, period, and I defy you find a single person who understands copyright law who would make this assertion) would then object to my disposing of my property in the fashion that I find most salubrious to my economic fortunes.

    The fact is, my books sell better than their counterparts. The fact is, Baen Books' freeware titles drive sales of series books. I got an email last night from someone whose book was released at the same time as mine, reviewed in the same places, and widely compared to mine. His sales-rank at Amazon sits somewhere at 100k or so. My sales-rank sits at about 5k.

    Hey, if you don't wanna buy, you don't have to. I don't care, honestly. Enjoy it. Chortle all day about how you put one over on that darned info-hippie. I'll be laughing all the way to the bank.

    Comment by Cory Doctorow — February 5, 2004 @ 4:29 am

  80. Hi Cory,
    I read Magic Kingdom online and enjoyed it. Can I ask you what sort of agreement you came to with Tor about publishing online for free? Did they demand anything in return for leaving you the right to publish a free competitor to the dead-tree edition (I'm guessing they'd normally take online rights as part of volume), or are they interested in this as a kind of experiment?

    No problem if you can't talk about your contract with them - I was just interested as my wife works in publishing in the UK. Thanks.

    Comment by Matt — February 5, 2004 @ 4:43 am

  81. Tribeless (aptly named, based on your lack of support here), just STFU.

    I'm a creator (pushing 400 articles plus a book plus over a thousand Web pages) and I follow Canadian copyright law in letter and spirit. I download what's legal (e.g., music, which is legally OK in Canada). If Cory lets me download his work, I will. He has that right, I'm not a "pirate," and I'm not infringing anything.

    I give away the text of my book for free and it hasn't hurt me in the slightest. I have not heard of an example where it has hurt an author.

    The claim that "millions" of people will be able to duplicate movies easily is false. Do you know anything about video compression and Base64 encoding? Have you ever actually tried to E-mail a full-length movie to "millions" of people?

    As much as I love him, Cory downplays the fact that he already had a name before he put his book online. For the new writer, publishing a book online first is unlikely to really help. The issue is that it might help and it almost certainly won't hurt.

    So please, Tribeless, STFU.

    Comment by Joe Clark — February 5, 2004 @ 4:53 am

  82. Regarding my contract with Tor. It turns out that the contractual language change necessary to enable this is very slight. The stadard boilerplate reads something like, "Author assigns the Publisher exclusive electronic rights to the Work." The change is something like, "Author assigns the Publisher non-exclusive electronic rights to the Work."

    Tor actually offers competing electronic editions of my novels, with DRM, for $10 a pop. I don't think they sell very well, but then, OTOH, they didn't cost much to produce, either.

    Comment by Cory Doctorow — February 5, 2004 @ 5:58 am

  83. Joe, I think you overestimate my "name" and its commercial value, both before and after the publication of my novel. All the retail research suggests that recognizing someone's name from some other context is a relatively unimportant contributor to a purchase decision. A recommendation from a trusted source and the ability to sample sit so far ahead of that factor in the market research that they positively eclipse it.

    Comment by Cory Doctorow — February 5, 2004 @ 6:03 am

  84. A slashdot entry is more important than a name if you want to get lots of people on the 'net interested.

    The fact that Cory appears to be leading the field in this regard gets the /. listing which in turn gets huge numbers of visitors to the site.

    Yesterday the name Cory Doctorow meant 0 to me, AFAIK none of my friends were aware of his work either (I discuss books with my friends regularly and would know if any of them were big fans). I agree that Joe is overestimating the current value of Cory's name (things will have changed by the end of next week however).

    The question is whether point 4 in Joe's posting could be altered to refer to Cory's apparently getting there first. We will discover this when other people try to emulate Cory.

    Cory's current methodology may be discovered to be an anomoly which is not sustainable when large numbers of people do the same. But in that case I am sure that other ways will be discovered to make money from writing books which don't solely rely on dead tree sales.

    Comment by Russell Coker — February 5, 2004 @ 7:25 am

  85. Cory: "Tor actually offers competing electronic editions of my novels, with DRM, for $10 a pop."

    Right, what I wondered was, did they say "we'll give you x if you give us exclusive rights, but only y (where y

    Comment by Matt — February 5, 2004 @ 7:55 am

  86. Sorry - should have previewed first. What I meant to say was - did Tor offer you less because you were giving away a version that competed with theirs (directly in the case of ebooks)? Or did they see it as positive, or at least neutral, that your version was doing marketing for the dead tree edition?

    Comment by Matt — February 5, 2004 @ 7:58 am

  87. I can understand that this issue is a contentious one. So I'll try to move around the normative thread, and ask my questions again:

    1. What would you imagine would be different (if anything) if you did things in reverse...that is, distributed the book for free through the internet, THEN tried to receive a contract for it?

    2. It seems to me that this is an exercise in branding. Give away free product, increase the value of the brand through increasing knowledge ABOUT the brand. Have there been any weaknesses that you've experienced? Do you find that in order to take advantage of your brand that you've had to make more personal appearances that may take you away from writing?

    I ask both questions because I've been thinking about doing something very similar. I'd think that you'd be able to increase future revenue by (perhaps) shorting yourself in the short term.

    Comment by Lester Spence — February 5, 2004 @ 9:08 am

  88. Tribeless:

    Although I admire you for sticking to your point of morality in your argument, it is exactly that point that can make things sticky for you in other ways. (Are the things you write about as an author 100% moral? Someone else brought up the point of your lying about making a living off writing...do you consider that moral? Etc.)

    If I own something, IP or other property, and someone takes it without my permission, either for personal use or distribution, it's wrong. I can agree with that. Immoral, however, is in the eye of the beholder, in my opinion.

    I do not consider stealing, in and of itself, an action that makes a person immoral. There are many reasons, sometimes GOOD ones, for taking something that doesn't belong to you. Coveting something is never a good reason and if that is why someone steals something then, yes, I would have to agree that it is immoral. But I think that a person struggling with financial issues that has the intention to purchase later is not being immoral when downloading p2p shared files. Someone using p2p shared files to explore new genres of music, movies or books who then goes out and gets the whole catalog of a particular artist is not immoral to me. A poor, uneducated mother who steals clothing or food for her child - is that immoral? Isn't it more immoral that she goes without education, food or clothing in the first place? Is it moral that 15 years after Compact Disc technology became generally available record labels are STILL charging nearly $20 bucks per CD in many cases when the actual cost to produce, including promotional fees, manufacturing fees and artist fees is well under $10 bucks?!

    I understand that you may not choose to make that delineation, and that is fine too.

    I could think of 10 other things off the top of my head that I believe are WAY more deserving of the label of "immoral" than file-sharing. How about the over-inflated paychecks of many popular entertainers, movie producers, directors and people in the entertainment industry these days (I am speaking from the USA point of view) while hundreds of thousands of American citizens go homeless, jobless, hungry. That is just one example.

    I realize that is not the point of your argument and that you are probably trying to keep it in the context of this subject. I just felt the need to chime in and add something that I hoped might bring a little scale to the discussion.

    Cory - I love your forward thinking ideas and wholly agree with your opinions about the subject. Keep on with it!

    P.S. This is one of the most intellectual discussions I have read on a comment board in a while - let us please not resort to flaming and name calling.

    Comment by Lionemom — February 5, 2004 @ 9:12 am

  89. Lester: I'm sorry, I just don't have an answer to your question. Maybe someone else in this thread does.

    Matt: The sums involved in my advance were not affected one way or another by the erights negotation.

    Comment by Cory Doctorow — February 5, 2004 @ 11:50 am

  90. Cory wrote to James"(by the way, Mr/Mrs Webmaster, I wish there was a better way to show quotations in here:) :

    "James, it astonishing to me that someone who believes that IP is property (which it isn't, period, and I defy you find a single person who understands copyright law who would make this assertion) would then object to my disposing of my property in the fashion that I find most salubrious to my economic fortunes."

    Firstly, good on you James for having your heart/mind in the right place. I do want to delineate my argument from your own however.

    Cory, I hesitate anymore to get mired in the definitions debate. I've already said in my posts, clearly, that I think you have every right to sell/give away YOUR book in anyway you wish, and, therefore, I have no moral problem with people file sharing your book, obviously, as you have sanctioned this. My point of disagreement is regarding the 'long term' impact of this on the author/creator. But I've been through that above.

    But, is IP property? Well, no, its IP :) Different, but no less valid: my IP belongs to ME, and if I'm to make a living from my IP (and if I can't do this, then a 'free' capitalist society cannot exist, because its individuals can't support themselves). How do I protect my IP - at the moment copyright is I believe the best approach at a solution - although note, this does cause a contradiction in some of my own beliefs [that is, I'm a freedom lover, I hate the big governments' that the West is moving to and I want to radically reduce the size and scope of government, yet, copyright is dependent on government enforcement]. I'll be the first to admit that I'm not entirely comfortable, at all, with this contraction. I reconcile it by saying my goal at the moment is for a Libertarian (NOT anarchist) state which has a very small government 'sector'that provides only what is correctly in governments' sphere: that is, an army and a police force to stop outside and inside agressors, a criminal law system to punish those that would initiate force on others, and a contract law system so that a capitalist system can operate; part and parcel of the contract system is government enforcement of copyright, patent, ... etc.

    But as you can see, the above contradiction does make me genuinely interested in your experiment, even though my opinion differs from you in its likely outcomes.

    Regarding my concentration on the 'morality' aspect, for the other questions to me above, I have made this very clear in a post above, that is: "No matter what level of intellectual abstraction you apply to these issues, at a base level every file sharer who shares/loots an etext of an author/publisher who has chosen to use the existing copyright convention, knows they are breaching a contract with that author/publisher. Moreover, they are consciously breaching that contract by a deliberate act. This is categorically theft; there is no other way to describe this specific act. As such, it is deeply immoral."

    But to all the people wading in above with the argument, essentially :) oh if you take that moral line you'll ended up hoisted on your own petard ... I've never really understood that notion, again, taken to its logical conclusion every individual would simply have to wrap themselves up in the fetal position and do nothing. So look posters, I have a character which is admittedly full of holes, I actually think I'm a reasonably decent bloke, but Jesus, believe me I'm no saint, but should I let that stop me being passionate about those issues which are important to me nevertheless?

    Well of course my answer is no :)

    I think I've made my point ...

    To some other posters who directed their kind :) thoughts to me.

    Joe Clark wrote:

    "I'm a creator (pushing 400 articles plus a book plus over a thousand Web pages) and I follow Canadian copyright law in letter and spirit. I download what's legal (e.g., music, which is legally OK in Canada). If Cory lets me download his work, I will. He has that right, I'm not a "pirate," and I'm not infringing anything. "

    Agreed. No point of disagreement at all.

    "I give away the text of my book for free and it hasn't hurt me in the slightest. I have not heard of an example where it has hurt an author."

    I disagree on this to the point, it has not hurt an author or songster, as there is no way for us to know as there is no control for the experiment, is there. I contend that the free music downloads, certainly, are sales away from certainly the bigger bands.

    Then Joe wrote: "The claim that "millions" of people will be able to duplicate movies easily is false. Do you know anything about video compression and Base64 encoding? Have you ever actually tried to E-mail a full-length movie to "millions" of people?"

    Again, part of my disagreement with Joe is over long term consequences, in the long term with the pace of technological change, this will be easily do-able.

    Finally Joe, what does STFU mean?

    Actually at this point I've run out of time as I have to get some work done!!

    No, a final shot for now. A few of the posters above have leveled at me this justification of file sharing for the 'greater good' theory. That is bullshit for two reaons (and I'm at this one again because it really bugs me). Anyway reason one, which I'll quote directly from my last post before this, "People who talk about the 'greater good' always worry me, because experience tells me this means they want to tax me more so they can buy everybody else into 'their' greater good". Another argument to it though is what these posters are saying is that file sharing is nothing more than communism in drag - and to see what dim thoughts I think of that, have a read on my post above about the GREAT thing which is profit.

    Cheers :)

    Comment by Tribeless — February 5, 2004 @ 12:04 pm

  91. Sorry, there is an incomplete sentence at the start of my post above, but its still understandable I hope ... written in haste and all that.

    Comment by Tribeless — February 5, 2004 @ 1:23 pm

  92. Cory, did you have to give up *anything* in order to affect that e-rights assignment change (such as a lower royalty rate)?

    I'd also like to chime in here on the distinction between IP and real property.

    Intelectual property is non-rivalrous. I can make a copy of a song and leave you the original. So, it isn't 'theft', which would neccessarily deprive you of something you have. It is, nonetheless, a copyright violation.

    However, the rights assignment itself *is*, for all intents and purposes, a piece of property, so you can say that you own a copyright (even if you don't really own the subject of that copyright). If I (through fraud) have your copyright (or trademark, or patent) transferred to me, only then have I stolen your IP.

    The real-world analogy would be the difference between stealing a piece of land and trespass.

    In no circumstance should a copyright violation be termed theft, just as trespassing can't be termed theft.

    Comment by Michael Bernstein — February 5, 2004 @ 1:49 pm

  93. Michael Berstein wrote:

    "Intelectual property is non-rivalrous. I can make a copy of a song and leave you the original. So, it isn't 'theft', which would neccessarily deprive you of something you have"

    But don't you miss, therefore, the most crucial part of the equation? What of the creator who is denied a payment? As I've said, its so easy in this argument to get lost in definitional abstractions. When I refer to theft, is is soley in relation to the creator being paid for the fruits of their mind.

    "The real-world analogy would be the difference between stealing a piece of land and trespass."

    Again then, no matter how defined, its not a nice thing to do (and forget the legalities even, it just a horrid, treachous thing to do the the creator of the IP ?)

    Would you agree?

    Comment by Anonymous — February 5, 2004 @ 2:15 pm

  94. sorry again. The above post was by Tribeless Michael

    Comment by Tribelss — February 5, 2004 @ 2:17 pm

  95. So, I whipped up a little speed reader applet for EST:

    http://trevor.typepad.com/blog/2004/02/what_i_did_duri.html

    Comment by Trevor F Smith — February 5, 2004 @ 2:45 pm

  96. Michael: "Cory, did you have to give up *anything* in order to affect that e-rights assignment change (such as a lower royalty rate)?"

    No, nothing.

    Trevor: What a cool little applet!

    Comment by Cory Doctorow — February 5, 2004 @ 3:33 pm

  97. "But don't you miss, therefore, the most crucial part of the equation? What of the creator who is denied a payment? As I've said, its so easy in this argument to get lost in definitional abstractions.

    You're getting lost in a definitional oversimplification.

    "When I refer to theft, is is soley in relation to the creator being paid for the fruits of their mind."

    Sorry, a lost sale does not equal theft. Next you'll say that since Cory's book is available for free, he is 'stealing' sales from for-pay ebooks.

    "Again then, no matter how defined, its not a nice thing to do (and forget the legalities even, it just a horrid, treachous thing to do the the creator of the IP ?)"

    I was making a legal analogy, not a moral one. The current copyright regime is fairly immoral, and getting worse every day with laws such as the DMCA tilting the field toward copyright owners and away from the public.

    And, I should point out that file-sharing in and of itself is *not yet* illegal, as it has substantial non-infringing uses.

    Comment by Michael Bernstein — February 5, 2004 @ 3:58 pm

  98. Tribeless - I like your style and can only admire your single mindedness but you aren't making very clear arguments.

    Your ideas about capitalism, the profit motive and the freedom to make it by yourself do not tie up sensibly with a desire to have a strong arm government protect your IP, for eternity if possible.

    And face it - Cory's distribution of the content is clearly working for him on the micro scale. on the macro scale the rampant so called theft\piracy of media on the web is not killing any of the host industries - the opposite is true. The greater good is benefitting them too. Equating x billion media files copied to a direct loss of $10 x billion in "losses" is a crass deceit - the affected industries are outperforming equivalents that are not subject to such "losses". The truth here is that DRM paranoia and obsessive restrictions on control of IP are actively preventing markets developing. If you really are a capitalist who loves profit then that should sicken you.

    for the record I've finished the ebook of D&O, loved it and have ordered it from Amazon. Nice and all as the 1400x1050 display on my Thinkpad is I really do want it in Dead Tree Format. Eastern Standard Tribe is in for a preview now and will be purchased as soon as I find a copy I can get (Amazon.co.uk haven't listed it yet).

    Comment by helvick — February 5, 2004 @ 5:22 pm

  99. I don't care how many layers of IP jargon you couch it in, in no way is copyright infringment like stealing. When I steal your cow, you no longer have the cow in you possession, you can no longer use the cow. When I "steal" a song off of napster, it deprives no one of its use. Until the IP freaks can recognize and acknowledge this fact they will be dismissed as the blowhard hype-hounds that they are. It is not morally, ethically or otherwise equivalent. Until the RIAA et. al can get that through their skulls they will be unable to participate in the debate about the future of intellectual property rights, and the conversation will continue without them.

    Comment by tcskeptic — February 5, 2004 @ 6:06 pm

  100. mmmmm. Last post from me as after this the arguments go in cirlces.

    Helvick wrote:

    "Your ideas about capitalism, the profit motive and the freedom to make it by yourself do not tie up sensibly with a desire to have a strong arm government protect your IP, for eternity if possible."

    I KNOW. I've stated above that there is a contradiction in my thinking on this matter that I'm not comfortable with. Again, to copy my post above: How do I protect my IP - at the moment copyright is I believe the best approach at a solution - although note, this does cause a contradiction in some of my own beliefs [that is, I'm a freedom lover, I hate the big governments' that the West is moving to and I want to radically reduce the size and scope of government, yet, copyright is dependent on government enforcement]. I'll be the first to admit that I'm not entirely comfortable, at all, with this contraction. I reconcile it by saying my goal at the moment is for a Libertarian (NOT anarchist) state which has a very small government 'sector'that provides only what is correctly in governments' sphere: that is, an army and a police force to stop outside and inside agressors, a criminal law system to punish those that would initiate force on others, and a contract law system so that a capitalist system can operate; part and parcel of the contract system is government enforcement of copyright, patent, ... etc. .... This is why Cory's experiment does interest me.

    But I have come to this 'compromise' position because I believe the alternative is worse. I find the several posts above this one very very 'Cold'. They are intellectualising creators livelihoods away, to justify file sharing, in an environment when the file sharers (before Cory's experiment) had no answers for an alternative. That is, you're saying that file sharing is not theft, so you're sharing authors/songsters' works, when you KNOW, however, under the existing system (and forget the legalities) that this is against the wishes and the EFFORTS THROUGH THEM COPYRIGHTING THEIR WORKS of those same authors/songsters who have been seeking to protect their works by this means (under the impression, as I am still, that every file shared, is a song/novel/etc that never potentially has to be paid for and is thus food from their tables). I'm sure you KNOW in your mind/hearts that this is wrong, in absence, certainly, of offering an acceptable solution for them to make a living - because no theoretician, or anarchist I am aware of, has yet been able to do that.

    And that is where I have the utmost respect for Cory (and I've never deviated from saying that). I do not agree with his long term prognosis, but hell, at least he is trying a 'likely answer'.

    But for me that up to this point, and on still, the active file sharers' activities are a two faced low way to live a life. Just like the typical cyberpunk anti-hero, they are devoid of some sort of moral fibre, or decency, that most of us need to make a capitalist system work. With a file sharer, perhaps pre-Cory, for a friend, who would need an enemy.

    Still, a bit of debate never hurts. So as I've said earlier, I suspect anything further I have to add will simply be repeating myself. So all the best Cory, I'm back off to my real life now :) ...

    Comment by Tribeless — February 5, 2004 @ 7:26 pm

  101. Getting back on the Writing train

    So I've decided to write and syndicate a short story on Read/Write Web.

    Trackback by Read/Write Web — February 5, 2004 @ 10:12 pm

  102. A great discussion of morality. However, morality is defined as being based on the views of the collective majority of society. In the views of the society in this thread the majority say that file sharing is not immoral.

    Anyway, I think that Mr. Doctorow's marketing strategy is ingenious and should be used by all authors, established and would-be. It will certainly not hurt sales and could and should recruit new readers into the fold by exposing readers to someone or something (sci-fi) that they would normally never even notice.

    Down and Out was great by the way. I bought it the old-fashioned way (I read your short stories in Asimov's etc. and knew I liked your style).

    Much success to you in the future.

    Comment by John — February 6, 2004 @ 11:00 am

  103. Tribeless and James:

    First let me start out by saying that, although I do not agree with your point of view, I do understand it. File-sharing is, indeed, stealing, but, in my opinion, in the legal sense of the word, not the moral sense. Morality is a very delicate subject. You obviously have a very deeply ingrained sense of "morality" which buys into the current legal ramifications of intellectual property and copyright, hence your views.

    Morality is like sand on which the stone of the law is laid. At one time it was not considered "moral", and thus illegal, for a black man in the United States to have the same rights as a white man. Morality changed, and the law along with it. Morals shift, like sand, and the law shifts to fit it.

    Now, somewhere deep beneath the sand is a deeper, bedrock sort of morality. Regardless of one's opinion of the Bible, "Thou shalt not steal" is pretty good from a social standpoint which, when you get right down to it, is what morals protect: our ability to live in a functioning society. But the thing is that nobody ever really defined "stealing", and they certainly didn't have any concept of intellectual property rights. That's part of the sand. And society shapes the sand.

    To you, 70 million Americans are immoral because they share files. I will agree that 70 million Americans are engaging in illegal activity by file-sharing, under the current law. And I will agree that, morally, the artists who produce those files should be recompensed for their time and effort. Those of these 70 million who, like James here, would not pay for something they receive for free are indeed immoral. You estimate that 1 in 100,000 of these 70 million are the type who would go ahead and buy that which they have already received for free; that, I feel, is a ridiculously cynical estimate.

    You see, most Americans have been raised in a capitalist community, and have been raised with capitalist mores, one of which happens to be "you don't get something for nothing". We also understand the concept of economy; if you take but do not give back, then eventually there is nothing left to take. This is part of the evolution of the capitalist ideal. An artist will not continue to produce music or literature unless paid; if he provides it for free, then it is our moral obligation to pay. Although you may believe that James "has his heart in the right place", he is less moral than most - given free art, he feels no compunction to pay. He is the type of capitalist that would clear forests and strip-mine mountains, eliminating the chance at profit tomorrow for profit today. This form of capitalism is ultimately self-defeating, as eventually there is nothing left for tomorrow. It is this that many political authors have against capitalism in general, that greed will, taken to its greatest extreme, devour itself.

    But as I have said, capitalism is evolving. More and more people realize daily that in order to get, you must give. You cannot chop down every tree in the forest, because then tomorrow there is no forest; a little effort spent replanting today ensures that there are trees to harvest tomorrow. Economy is the key.

    The chief thing that is shifting in morality is not whether or not the artist gets paid for his or her work, but when. People are tired of paying their hard-earned money for the right, when it gets right down to it, to try something out. They buy a book based on reviews and friends, don't like it, read half of it, and it sits on their shelf collecting dust. They buy a CD because of one song they enjoy, and wind up with ten other songs they don't remotely like. These are not good investments. So more and more people are turning to illegal means to preview things they would buy - and not just blurbs and excerpts, but honest, solid previews of the entire product in question - and then buying them anyway. Because you don't get something for nothing. Because you give back, in order to get more tomorrow.

    There are still holdouts to the more "traditional" form of capitalism - take James there, for one. One amid several dozen who have replied here stating that if they like Mr. Doctorow's book, they will gladly pay for it. If Mr. Doctorow were not to publish another book because he went bankrupt, no doubt James would not be bothered in the slightest. They do exist, yes, these old-fashioned capitalists, but they number fewer and fewer all the time. Pandering to their interests is the crime here. Capitalism is evolving, morality is evolving - and the law and industry will evolve along with it.

    Stamping out file-sharing, strictly regulating intellectual property, will not work. They've tried it before - video games from the Commodore era, movies from the early days of VHS - and it will not work this time any better than it did then. People will always find ways around. Embrace the new technology, find ways to make money off it, and suddenly you're ahead of the game. You shift with the sand, or you find yourself buried in it.

    Unfortunately, at the base of your argument, you have a flawed concept. You have said "just because everyone does it does not make it moral". Alas, this is simply not true. If it is acceptable to the masses, then it is moral. That's what morality is - not religious, not legal, but social. People define what is and is not moral, and the law must move to make room for them.

    Comment by Kyle — February 6, 2004 @ 2:04 pm

  104. Phew. Great thread. Thanks Cory for pioneering and all that it entails *and* still finding time to produce creative objects. Thanks Tribeless for the tireless drawing out of the legal and moral fine points. The interventions of Michael Bernstein, Blisterpeanuts and Russell Coker were highlights for me, insightful, cogent, moved the thing on. I cut and pasted your posts to Notepad for future ref. (Tell me if not ok and I'll trash). A permissive, copying culture is where I've lived all my life, from taping from the radio to cut n pasting comments I like ;-) I wish my mouse right click sent micropayments back to all those whose work I've loved and built on, but never too late to start. "Piracy" is not a subculture anymore, it is the culture. The natural approach to any cultural threat is to have a war on ___. Insert file-sharing, drugs, terror. Whilst it may be hard to swallow, Don't Fight The Power Law. We should be looking at ways to co-opt, integrate and exploit all that energy. We thrive on compromise, we die in war. I think Cory's approach is backed up by the Cluetrain Manifesto. Mega-media behemoths who underwrite the production, marketing and distribution of our cultural artefacts are being routed around and rooted out by the natural behaviour of the network. The readers/listeners/viewers/users are conduits for content. They always have been. It's just that now word-of-mouth travels near instantly across the world and the thing under discussion with it. For artists, musicians, writers, performers, directors, all producers of work, this can only be a good thing. For when people love your output, they really love it. If you let them know that you appreciate that, and if they pay something, that would help you make more. Then all stand to benefit. I aver that the producer already engages in a kind of conversation with their public through their work. When the work itself can carry its own marketing, distribution and retail operation around as part of its identity, and there is a simple micro-revenue path back from it and all its copies to the original author, then that conversation will have got somewhere very exciting.
    Thanks all for a really stimulating Friday evening.

    Comment by Jamie Cason — February 6, 2004 @ 3:10 pm

  105. A couple of book links

    Two links via Maud Newton: Pop-up and Movable Books from the University of North Texas: A collection of fabulous old...

    Trackback by scribblingwoman — February 6, 2004 @ 3:11 pm

  106. Tribeless: 'Just because the majority says it is right, NEVER makes it morally right. Anyway, from above:

    Lets us say that we put 19 Asian gentlemen into a room with one European guy. Lets now say that a democratic election is held and the 19 asians democratically elect to kill the European simply because he is a European (ie, on whim). The vote is 19 to 1, or 20 to 0 if the European guy is a complete moron. Note, either way, this is a fully democratic majority decision.

    Is it morally right? HELL NO.'

    The only reason your analogy works at all is that you know that of the people reading this, the vast majority of them will have a moral outlook that intersects with yours on the point of cold-blooded murder. This analogy has emotional appeal, but it is no argument.

    Comment by Nicholas Liu — February 6, 2004 @ 4:11 pm

  107. Society defines morality period. That is the way it will always be. The problem with your analogy is that society has declared murder to be morally wrong (Thanks to the Bible). Now, this might not be right and we might be destroying the whole of Western Society, but morals have always been defined by society. I do not think this situation will ever change.

    Comment by John — February 6, 2004 @ 5:49 pm

  108. The only reason I even felt the need to post instead of lurk in the background is because the argument should not be centered on moral issues. It should be centered on the question: Is file sharing theft or not?

    The answer: Yes.

    Is there anything we can do about it?

    The answer: No.

    What next?

    The answer: Do what Mr. Doctorow is trying to do. Mold the situation to your advantage.

    Comment by John — February 6, 2004 @ 5:53 pm

  109. Hi John, I agree with your final analysis (but would have have no truck whatsoever with your first one). Of course where we differ is that I do believe that something can be done about it; that is, go after the copyright infringers ruthlessly and prosecute every case. That would be an action appropriately funded by the State (strange coming from me, but consistent, as I believe there is room for a State in a free society, one of its few functions being to uphold a criminal justice system).

    Oh, and for some of us it is a moral issue. It just happens to be in a file sharers best interests (guilt salving, and I'm not necessarily including you in this) to try and constantly divorce this topic from the moral realm - and a cop out to do so. We are, afterall, talking about peoples' livelihoods.

    But the reason for both my previous attacks, and the vehemence of them (when only indirectly related to the sale of Cory's book), is because thanks to the unthinking masses which assume democracy and majority rule are such wonderful things (BS), freedom going into the future is virtually still born now.

    Comment by Tribeless — February 6, 2004 @ 6:09 pm

  110. Morality can be defined by a single person. However, that person is unlikely to change the moral climate of any society when the majority of that society does not stand behind that persons moral stance. Maybe it is more of an ethical issue which is based on individuals and not on society as a whole.

    Anyway read this:

    I just read an article from Reuter's News that said that an Industry Trade Group for music swappers should be cut in on the money.

    "Rather than losing millions of dollars in potential sales to online song swappers, the recording industry should give them a cut of the revenues when they distribute songs in a protected format, the Distributed Computing Industry Association said.

    The scenario follows two others put forth by the trade group in an effort to forge peace between peer-to-peer networks and the major record labels that have hounded them and their users in court.

    DCIA chief executive Marty Lafferty said record labels could see sales grow by 10 percent over the next four years if they embraced the new technology, much as movie studios increased their market when they embraced the videocassette recorder in the 1980s.

    "Each time there's a technology breakthrough in entertainment distribution, once it's harnessed and embraced and an industry finds a way to capitalize on it, the industry does enjoy accelerated growth," he said.

    Under the plan, record labels would encode their songs with copy-protection technology so users would have to pay a small fee, between 80 cents and 40 cents, to listen to them.

    Prolific song-swappers would be encouraged to convert their collections of unprotected material into the protected format, and then paid a portion of the fees collected each time somebody purchases a song after copying it from them.

    Eventually, user-friendly software would allow amateur musicians without recording contracts to make their music available as well, DCIA said.

    But implementing the plan could be difficult as it would require the cooperation of Internet providers, record labels and peer-to-peer networks.

    Most peer-to-peer networks back a model in which musicians and record labels could be reimbursed through surcharges on blank CDs, CD burners, and fees from Internet providers and peer-to-peer networks themselves.

    Though any proposal to pay artists for peer-to-peer activity is welcome, DCIA's suggestions "need to be taken with a large portion of the salt shaker," said Adam Eisgrau, executive director of P2P United, a competing trade group.

    An earlier DCIA proposal would have positioned member company Brilliant Digital Entertainment Inc.'s copy-protection technology as a standard, Eisgrau noted.

    A spokesman for the Recording Industry Association of America (news - web sites) said he had not had time to look over the proposal and declined comment."

    Source: http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=582&e=5&u=/nm/20040205/wr_nm/tech_music_payment_dc

    If profit is an artists motive, embrace the tech and see your net worth climb. And, by the way, I have never file/shared. When I publish my books I expect to get all the money that I deserve. Mr. Doctorow's approach seems to be netting more gain so I'm all for it.

    Comment by John — February 6, 2004 @ 6:28 pm

  111. Tribeless, my point is that you've intentionally chosen an analogy no one will disagree with. But try this on for size:

    A woman wants to get an abortion. 9 in 10 people agree that she should be able to. Does that make it moral? HELL NO!

    A man rapes and murder another man's wife. The husband tracks the murder down and kills him. 9 in 10 people agree that he was justified in doing so. Does that make it moral? HELL NO!

    Two men want to get married to each other. 9 in 10 people agree that they should be able to. Does that make it moral? HELL NO!

    Do these work as examples? Do their 'HELL NO!'s consist of sufficient support for your stand? Don't make me laugh. If you're going to tell me that you're in touch with the noumenon and know what's right and wrong for everybody else, you're going to have to support that claim with more than a fucking obvious scenario that you know most people happen to agree with you on.

    Comment by Nicholas Liu — February 7, 2004 @ 1:07 pm

  112. No, not about to engage in the whole morality issue. Just here to congratulate Cory.

    Great story! Bravo!

    And, well, *I* think it's a smart distribution concept...

    Comment by cholly — February 8, 2004 @ 9:16 am

  113. Tribeless: why is it anyone else's business if Cory's actions are not in his own financial best interests? He had the right to choose not to write a book, he had the right to lock his manuscript in a safe instead of publishing it, he also has the right to publish it in ways that may not give him optimum financial returns. He believes that he is doing what is in his own best interests, and surely he is in the best position to judge.

    Maybe his actions do not serve the best interests of the "publishing industry". Should he be compelled to submit to the will of a cartel? Or should he be given the option of doing things his own way and letting the market determine the results? The legal system of every capitalistic country is based around the idea of competition. The competition is not designed to be best for the sellers, but for the buyers. Banning car sales over the Internet would help car salesmen, should it be done?

    Regardless of what you think about these issues, your opinion only matters if you are involved.

    Some people claim that I am a communist who is intent on destroying democracy because I wrote free software. The opinions of such people don't matter much, I and my friends write better software than they do anyway. Losers always whine.

    Comment by Russell Coker — February 9, 2004 @ 12:38 am

  114. Russell wrote:

    "Tribeless: why is it anyone else's business if Cory's actions are not in his own financial best interests? He had the right to choose not to write a book, he had the right to lock his manuscript in a safe instead of publishing it, he also has the right to publish it in ways that may not give him optimum financial returns. He believes that he is doing what is in his own best interests, and surely he is in the best position to judge."

    It is nobody else's business at all, except Cory published on this page his proposed model, and asked for comments. I gave my comment, as was his desire. Yes surely he is the best to judge what is in his own best interests; I don't have a problem with that, however, I don't agree, and he asked for comments, so I told him as much.

    "Maybe his actions do not serve the best interests of the "publishing industry". Should he be compelled to submit to the will of a cartel?"

    No! I've already said on a post above that I would die fighting for his right to have the freedom to sell his book anyway he likes; indeed, so long as he doesn't initiate force on me, or anybody else, he can do anything he wants, its none of my busines. But, you see, he asked for comments so I gave mine (which was opposing his own point of view, in the long term).

    "Losers always whine."

    As a rule I agree. But remember losing on this issue invariably means the loss of a rightfully earned livelihood via theft. Cory asked for comments on his scheme of sale, and so, as I've said, I gave mine, being that the result over the long term, when dead tree books disappear, would be as stated :)

    I really should leave this thread as I'm definitely trolling now.

    sorry.

    Comment by Tribeless — February 9, 2004 @ 1:28 am

  115. Cory on ebooks

    Cory Doctorow has a great thread on his new book Eastern Standard Tribe in which he discusses how releasing it (and his previous novel) for free download helped sales and points to the future of the publishing industry. I'll have

    Trackback by Technovia — February 9, 2004 @ 4:18 am

  116. The thing is that the IP maximalist position isn't internally supportable. if you truly believe that intellectual property is property (which it isn't, period, end of story, and to assert otherwise is to flatly deny the entire scholarship, practice, history, jurisprudence and statuatory basis of copyright), then surely it is my inalienable right to dispose of my property however I see fit.

    Imagine if we were competing hoteliers. We both have a property interest in the telephones we supply in our rooms. You charge a dollar a call. I give calls away for free. All your customers start staying in my room.

    Now, your extortionate telephone rates make you a lot of money. Say it's 80 percent of your bottom line. You essentially give away hotel rooms to sell telephone calls, which are pure margin. Me, I'm selling something else: maybe I've found a much cheaper way to build hotels and I'm just renting out rooms above the amortized sunk costs and the marginal costs of maintaining my hotel (in business, we call this, "Charging more for stuff than it costs")

    I need to do a volume business to stay afloat. You need to attract a much smaller volume of guests to stay afloat. When I start offering cheap-ass hotel rooms with free calling, the number of hotel guests in total shoots way up. Most of those new people stay with me -- I've introduce a whole new class of guests to the trade. You see a dip in your business, at least initially, and if you don't make the appropriate changes, you go out of business.

    Are my guests stealing telephone service? What about when they check into your hotel and start using the phone as though it's free, and then refuse to pay your bills and call you a crook for charging a buck a call? Have I *turned them* into thieves?

    This is, in fact, how the hotel trade has played out. One of the major differentiators between business hotels is whether they charge for local calling.

    Local calling is all margin. There's no new cost to a hotelier to support an additional local call (no more than there's a marginal cost to me supporting a new download of my book). When business hotels like Holiday Inn Express and Comfort Inn started offering free local calling, they a) expanded the overall size of the market, attracting new customers to it and b) "stole" tons of business from the Hiltons, Ws, and Marriotts of the world.

    This is the market. If you believe in property rights, then this is what you believe in. This is how property owners craftily dispose of their property in order to gain the maximal return on their investment in it.

    Here's a bigger point: when all the property owners get together and agree not to do something that would be in their individual interest (like free phone calls, or free downloads) in order to ensure that their high-margin business isn't disrupted, we call it *illegal price fixing* by a *conspiracy in restraint of trade* and our anti-trust regulators take their axes and their copies of Wealth of Nations in hand and they cut them to ribbons.

    And here's the final point: The Hilton didn't go out of business. What competition and innovation in business methods resulted in was:

    1) A new class of hotels that won in the market, indicating:

    2) Happy customers and a public good, with:

    3) A smarter, better Hilton that successfully "competed with free" by offering DSL, coffee makers, and a loyalty program

    Everyone won.

    If you believe that IP is property in a market, then suck it up and take your lumps as someone with a better production and sales method comes along and disrupts your business model. Markets exist to permit that kind of thing to happen.

    Comment by Cory Doctorow — February 9, 2004 @ 6:25 am

  117. Cory, the hotel example above is persuasive. Again, I'm really fighting some deadlines in my 'other' life, but there is obviously something important enough here to keep me coming back. Some passing comments (all quotes are from your post above - I won't have time to proof read below, so hope it ends up readable):

    "The thing is that the IP maximalist position isn't internally supportable. if you truly believe that intellectual property is property (which it isn't, period, end of story, and to assert otherwise is to flatly deny the entire scholarship, practice, history, jurisprudence and statuatory basis of copyright), then surely it is my inalienable right to dispose of my property however I see fit."

    It might sound trite, but again, IP is NOT property, it is IP, different, but no less valid because it is a construct, and, I believe, needs an enforceable construct (copyright) to protect it. (But as I've said this has led to its own set of internal contradictions with some of my own thinking). So long as you have control of your own IP (and that is the significant point for me), then yes, I agree, (as a Libertarian/objectivist) you are free to do anything you want with your

    "Are my guests stealing telephone service? What about when they check into your hotel and start using the phone as though it's free, and then refuse to pay your bills and call you a crook for charging a buck a call? Have I *turned them* into thieves?"

    I've been consistent on this point: if you officially allow free phone calls on your premises, the fine print of your 'copyright' in the example used, then no, this is quite obviously not theft. However, so long as the other hotel has clearly announced and posted the fact that they charge for calls, their particular copyright and contract with their customers, then yes, they have turned themselves into theives if they make calls and don't pay for them. Note the distinction; you have not turned them into theives, they have done that to themselves through a deliberate act/choice on their behalf to make calls with no intention of paying on premises where they knew this was not the case.

    Similarly, most creators (in the arts) have chosen to try and protect their works through a copyright contract which forbids file sharing. As ill conceived as a file sharer may think that policy is, it never changes the fact that they know how that contract works, and thus, if they deliberately breach it by file sharing, then it is categorically theft of that creator's work. That is cut and dried for me. That is also why I've said above, the individuals who are, and they are in huge numbers, sharing these creators' works are, sorry for grit, but low lifes of the highest order.

    I've always tried to my definitions clear. File sharing your novel is not theft, because you allow it. File sharing Heilein (a very apt example by the way) is theft.

    "If you believe that IP is property in a market, then suck it up and take your lumps as someone with a better production and sales method comes along and disrupts your business model. Markets exist to permit that kind of thing to happen."

    Yes :) I'm a laissez faire free marketer: besides the definitional issue around IP (see above), I agree, no problem at all. I do disagree about the long term systems effect of your experiment (but then I've been completely wrong on many things before, from land prices to, oh, US will become freer under Bush - before he started spending all your money at a huge rate and rack up major league deficits). Again, we have to leave democracy and the tyranny of the majority behind. But they are really off topic.

    Sidenote: I'm really enjoying your novel. Everybody who has lived with someone for at least five years just understands so well, on such a base level, Art and Linda's argument at his offices :) [Me from the point of view of Art].

    By the way, I just figured his name is indicative of a lot more than a character name ...

    Comment by Tribeless — February 9, 2004 @ 11:47 am

  118. Okay I'm a pedant. That should be thieves, not theives above ... (message to self: its quicker just proof reading before posting). Now back to work for God's sake.

    Comment by Tribeless — February 9, 2004 @ 12:41 pm

  119. Tribeless, I think the problem that a lot of people are having with your posts is that despite your protestations, you do seem to be arguing from a position of hypothesized moral absolutism - that is, that there are Things That Are Right and Things That Are Wrong, and ne'er the twain shall meet - and they're disagreeing with you on whether the object of debate - in this case, file sharing in general and downloading books without the consent of the author in specific - is a Thing That Is Wrong. In particular, a lot of people appear to be getting annoyed at you because your position seems to be that of the moral arbiter, which is a position I don't think anybody here can assume.

    Quite honestly, morals are based on society, and your example above doesn't hold up:

    Lets us say that we put 19 Asian gentlemen into a room with one European guy. Lets now say that a democratic election is held and the 19 asians democratically elect to kill the European simply because he is a European (ie, on whim). The vote is 19 to 1, or 20 to 0 if the European guy is a complete moron. Note, either way, this is a fully democratic majority decision.

    Is it morally right?

    Absolutely - within the society delineated by the 20 people in the room. In the context of larger Western society, perhaps not - after all, there's a reason why the United States, at least, has laws against conspiracy to commit murder - but given the constraints of the limited society with which you've presented us, the only possible answer is yes.

    The same thing happens when we talk about file sharing. Within the context of people who are willing to download so-called intellectual property, with or without the creator's consent, it is probably thoroughly moral to do so. Within the context of society at large - well, to be honest, we don't know. I'd guess that most people thing it's wrong, but I could be mistaken.

    Switching topics for a moment, there's also an issue at stake with calling file sharing "theft" because it deprives the creator of a sale. Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary defines "theft" as

    1. (Law) The act of stealing; specifically, the felonious taking and removing of personal property, with an intent to deprive the rightful owner of the same; larceny.

    Note: To constitute theft there must be a taking without the owner's consent, and it must be unlawful or felonious; every part of the property stolen must be removed, however slightly, from its former position; and it must be, at least momentarily, in the complete possession of the thief.

    Downloading a file from the Internet, unfortunately, doesn't fit any of these criteria - unless you want to reify the concept of the Sale. Even then, it's hard to do - how do you quantify or qualify "intent to purchase"? If you can demonstrate that J. Random Person downloading a book deprives the author of a sale (and here I presume, for the sake of simplicity within the argument, that every book has not more nor fewer than one author) then the downloading fulfills at least one of the criteria for theft - but can you definitively determine that there is a cost in sales?

    By direct contrast, I'd like to argue that the ability to download a book without (necessarily) paying for it helps authors and the general field of writing. I imagine that the first thing that's going to go through everybody's mind is "what kind of crack is he smoking?", but please hear me out. This argument depends on two things: a decentralized form of the concept that Cory used (introduced?) in Down and Out, "Whuffie"; and the existence of poor writers, or at the very least writers whose work I don't like, in the market.

    Let us presume that I am unable to read someone's writing except by buying their book in a bookstore. Let us presume further that I have bought a book that I simply didn't like - not necessarily for content, but for style and general writing quality. I have just rewarded this author for writing even though I did not enjoy what he wrote - and I no longer have that money to spend on a book by an author I do like. The end result is that I'm either

    a) not going to reward the authors that I like to read, or
    b) never read anybody new.

    On the other hand, if I can read at least a sample of the work beforehand, I can determine whether I like the style of the work, the content of the book, etc. I can reward the authors I like, fail to reward the authors I don't like, and encourage the market to grow in a direction that's favorable for me as a reader.

    I hope that made sense.

    Comment by EDG — February 9, 2004 @ 3:41 pm

  120. Downloading a file from the Internet, unfortunately, doesn't fit any of these criteria

    Well, okay, except for "without the owner's consent". And even that's fuzzy.

    Comment by EDG — February 9, 2004 @ 3:44 pm

  121. Check the URL above for a possible resolution to this tangle (also posted by Cory on Boing Boing). Let's follow the analogies:

    1) We have an existing system for music on radio and played in bars, clubs, etc. Artists record their songs, songs are played on radio, radio stations pay flat fees which are then divvied up among rights holders (let's not get into the whole payola mess, however - it seems to prove that artists should be paying 'pirates' and P2P sites for the favor of distribution).

    2) There seems no logical reason why this model should not be extended to high quality Internet radio; it's still a broadcast technology, right?

    3) The Sony Betamax case established that for TV as a broadcast technology, the manufacturer of a recording technology only needs to establish substantial noninfringing uses.

    4) Later interpretation has led to the position that 'time-shifting' of broadcasts by viewers/consumers is a legitimate activity. Keeping the recordings indefinitely is a gray area, but generally not of great concern unless selling them. There's also a 'tax' on recording media, again divvied out to rights holders.

    5) Internet broadcast of songs plus recording/time-shifting pretty much equals sharing. So long as we adopt a flat fee scheme of some sort and make sure the rights holders (hopefully the artists) are compensated, this is no more stealing than listening to them on the radio, recording Buffy so you can watch it on the weekend, or borrowing a book from the library (especially in England, where authors are actually compensated for library loans according to a similar scheme).

    Let's extend the technology to books, or rather the text of books, available as electronic files. Until really ergonomically great (good size, non-glowing) electronic book readers come along, there will continue to be a market for actual hard copy books. Having a 'radio' like setup for sharing of e-books could potentially serve the same *marketing* purpose for actual hard copies as radio currently does for recorded music. The mere fact that *some* people will choose to read all their books for free (apart from a small surcharge on connection fees and/or recording media and equipment) will no more kill the publishing industry than the fact that some people just listen to the radio has killed the music industry. Hey, some people (more patient than me, admittedly) get all their books from the library...

    Comment by Scott — February 11, 2004 @ 11:48 am

  122. Sorry - here's the URL

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/content/6/35498.html

    Comment by Scott — February 11, 2004 @ 11:49 am

  123. To ebook or not to ebook, that is the question

    Over the past week I've been devouring a

    Trackback by Read/Write Web — February 16, 2004 @ 3:33 am

  124. Cory,

    I stumbled across your site due to a link posted in my writer's group. I wonder how many actually fully checked out your site and it's links. A lot of good info here, especially on this thread, which I have been reading with quite a bit of amusement. I have to say that if your books read anything like this informative and amusing commentary on these posts, I may just have to download a copy. Mind you, I'm not at all a sci-fi person, but I admire intelligence and good writing skills.

    First I have to say that this idea is facinating to me, because I had read before about an author giving away her books, but the information was not detailed like this, and she never indicated anything about cc and the rights management they offer.

    I think it's brilliant. It gives people a good preview of what the book is about, and they can decide whether they want to purchase it, as opposed to buying it based on prehaps a well written blurb, and then opening it to discover they don't like it, it's not well written, or maybe being disappointed in other facets about the book.

    It also offers a lot of exposure to the author, prior to print publishing, so they can get a good feel on the market and how the book will do, as well as offer prepublishing pricing to perspective buyers.

    I must agree with Ken. First of all, I have barely gotten half way through the posts, but I too am a frequent infringer at Barnes and Nobles, and I can tell you from first hand experience; I have sat there and read a book in its entirety, within five hours, because I was so engrossed in it, and it answered some issues I was dealing with at the time. Upon completing the book, I was immediately compelled to buy it, and I did simply because I liked it so much. I figured I would want to reread it, because it has so much meaning to me. In addition, I knew of friends that would benefit from it as well.

    Once I got the book home, (one of Paulo Cuelo's books) I called my best friend and told her about it. She immediately was interested in seeing this book, so I loaned it to her. She still has it to this day, and this occurred two years ago. She refuses to return it to me, so I may end up having to purchase another, 'cause she's my friend, and I'm not gonna fight her over a book that meant as much to her as it did to me.

    Now I haven't yet replaced that particular book, but it was the first in a series of his books that I was exposed to, via Barnes and Nobles, and sitting on my ass reading. I've now collected almost every book this man has written...I want a library of his works. Therefore, he got subsequent sales, because I was allowed to "infringe" and got exposed to a writer I fell in love with.

    So for the small moment in time that I "infringed," Paulo got a sale nevertheless, and a potential second sale out of the deal.

    I also must agree with Phillip, who stated that no one is gonna read a book in its entirety on screen. I admit that whenever I download a pdf to read, I skim chapters...read a little but mostly, I'm only glancing, because I need to save my vision for other activities I need to do on my pc, and reading is for more of a relaxed state that cannot really be achieved while sitting at a computer. I personally have never used a palm reader, but I imagine there is a large degree of eye strain involved with those devices as well. I can't see that as way that I would ever ENJOY reading. I could see that maybe for informational reading, but not for the love of reading...no.

    And reading printout...he's right. It does not feel like a book...it feels like studying for a course in college, which is not always enjoyable, but maybe only necessary.

    As a writer, a new one at that, I'm very interested in this idea of sharing e-books, not because I wouldn't like to profit from my book. I'm very much in need of profits from somewhere, but Tribeless, the point is...people who are now known as big successes, whether in the book world, celebrities, music industry or whatever, all had to GIVE a bit of something...time, talent, advertising, or crosspromotion...something had to be given first, before they received. It's an immutable law.

    Nowadays, you gotta be willing to put up a minimum of $100 bucks, just to make $1.00. So I think this idea is sound, especially because it gives back to you in free promotion...the type that you'd have to pay thousands to get.

    Do you realize how fast the word "free" will spread? How much attention that word in its unhindered, no strings attached vernacular can draw? It's a very promising idea, and consider this.

    As a consumer, ideally, wouldn't you rather get to try a product prior to purchasing it? On a marketing tip, do you honestly think that you would get a sale from every customer who viewed your product, whether offered free or not? Most people, if they find value in a product will purchase it, right? For the handful of people that couldn't recognize value even if drowning in a pool of it, that would be your unreachable consumer's in either reality, so labeling everyone as infringers and thieves is really stupid.

    The unreachable customer will be unreachable whether it cost a million, or is free. Every market has unreachables and if you target your market, which is what the open free e-book will determine, your target market will find you and buy the book. It's totally sensible. Our system of marketing is a faith-based system, and this is a new faith-based angle to corner a market within that system. It's quite simple really.

    That said, I have no plans to be one of those that Cory said went kicking and screaming to the money tree. In order to find that tree, I gotta give something: info, money...it's the old exchange system at it's best.

    And for the kind of recognition and FREE publicity this would draw, let alone, additional promotional opportunities using the fact that it's a free download, ie: radio/tv interviews...I'm sorry, Tribeless, but I must disagree with your position. There is no better way to promote oneself, than a freebie.

    So if I decide through cc, to let a bunch of "thieves" as you call consumers, access to my first book, I have now gotten myself an established base of customers with which to promote my next project. Since they will already be familiar with my work, it's highly likely that I will generate far more for myself in sales on the second and forthcoming projects that will more than make up for any perceived losses I may have taken on the first project, which for promotion's sake, were none to begin with. An e-book cost little to nothing to create. That's my two cents. Peace.

    Comment by Sandra — February 16, 2004 @ 9:54 am

  125. To sl1ck3r in regards to your post of February 4, 2004 07:55 PM:

    LMAO! Damn! Talk about on tap! All I can say is 2 snaps and a bag of chips!

    As to Tribeless, I'm curious about something. You said this:

    In the rest of your argument you made some interesting points. But, note, what I have been talking about is the immorality of file sharing. I also gave the specific set of circumstances that I was referring to: ie, individuals who deliberately go against an authors/songsters wishes, and share/loot their material - what do you call that if not theft (and don't give me the changing technology BS)?

    Since you define file sharing as immoral, based on a standard copyright, can you clarify what specifically is immoral about it? As I understand copyright protection, it is to guard not only against unauthorized use, but also unauthorized profit.

    However, in every single lawsuit that I have ever heard of, when the issue of unauthorized use came up, it was not, as in the music industry, because a user listened to it, but because by it being played for that user, the player, not the author, somehow profited from playing it.

    So what I have constantly seen, is that the authors object and/or file suit over unauthorized use only if their IP becomes brand recognized to someone else, or someone else's work, or, that other person somehow profits. I have never ever heard of unauthorized use claims being filed just because someone used the work, but in no way profited, and there was no kind of ill association or character damage done to the author or the author's work.

    So it seems to me that it is only when the author objects, that file sharing becomes an issue of piracy...well, the author and the publisher, because in some cases, the publisher owns the rights. So how can file sharing in a general sense be deemed immoral? It would only be immoral by your definition if it was taking profit from the artist who was seeking to profit, right?

    Therefore, it seems that Cory's idea is not as separate as you say it is, because technically, he is file sharing; he's not limiting how his product can be obtained.

    It seems to me that according to your position, the copyright laws, ie: infringement occurs and is immoral only when the author chooses to limit the access, and not otherwise. The entities we hear about, that are crying lost profits the most loudly and frequently, are not (in the case of the music industry) the authors, but the franchised corporations that like publishers, make profits off of the hard work of the authors, and basically, rob them of the majority of the profits.

    They let the author do all of the creative work, then tell them that in order to get their services, which the author has to pay for, and is not getting free (this is not a sponsorship deal in most cases); the author has to sign away his/her rights to the publisher.

    The publishers infringe upon the author's right to profit by paying them less than half of the profits in royalties, and by charging them for expenses and returns, yet sell the product created by the authors. Without the authors, would they have a product to sell? No.

    So they too, in a large sense, are "infringers and thieves," profiting off of the desire of the artist to be seen and heard, and published. So basically, isn't this a case of the pot calling the kettle black? What we have is a case of the thieves getting played by, IYO other thieves... better thieves maybe, yet, 3/4 of those so-called better thieves are more honourable, because they will purchase a good product after having the exposure to it.

    So right now...I'm just not sure if your point has any credence. It just makes me wonder if you aren't in the publishing business yourself. Maybe that's why you can afford the large screen etc. and the lifestyle you claim. Just my two cents.
    Peace.

    Comment by Sandra — February 16, 2004 @ 12:21 pm

  126. Okay Sandra, I've been staying away from the thread, but I'm afraid you've earnt a hissy fit.

    You wrote: "Since you define file sharing as immoral, based on a standard copyright, can you clarify what specifically is immoral about it? ... So how can file sharing in a general sense be deemed immoral? It would only be immoral by your definition if it was taking profit from the artist who was seeking to profit, right?"

    READ all my posts. I explained myself very carefully and clearly. Do not offer yourself up to the temptation to intellectualise yourself into the moral abyss. Cory's book is not part of this debate as he is allowing file sharing. However, when my first stupendous novel is published, I will use a traditional copyright that forbids file sharing, as do probably about 99% of published authors currently; when you share a copy of my book, and while not paying me for that copy, then you have stolen from me what is rightfully mine. Whether you are stealing from my publisher or myself makes absolutely no difference - same result. If the publisher can't make a profit then he/she will go out of business, thus no publishing industry, no professional level writing.

    BUT READ MY ABOVE POSTS, SANDRA ... please :) all of them.

    CORY: my final word on why, IM(Not)HO, I think your model is doomed, over the long term.

    Sandra actually, completely without knowing it, signalled why: "no one is gonna read a book in its entirety on screen. I admit that whenever I download a pdf to read, I skim chapters...read a little but mostly, I'm only glancing, because I need to save my vision for other activities I need to do on my pc, and reading is for more of a relaxed state that cannot really be achieved while sitting at a computer".

    I agree, of course - who would be remotely interested in reading an ebook on a desktop. But this is where the filesharers, and Cory's argument/method breaks down. You cite 'change' as why you have to break the current copyright model, but you have not taken 'change' into account where it really does matter. Soon, the majority of the population will read ebooks on very comfortable handhelds.

    I read a LOT, however, over the last two to three years I have not purchased one dead tree book: all my e-reading matter has been purchased from either Fictionwise.com, or from Palm Media. (Incidentally, Palm's Secure Reader ebooks, which encrypt round my credit card number, are a lovely DRM solution - no incovenience, secure from file sharing abuse). With our increasingly electonic lives, we are not many years at all away from this being the norm. I wouldn't want to go back to the inconvenience of dead tree books.

    So, Cory's current achilles heel. His experiment still rests on people buying his dead tree book, that is still how he profits: thus we actually have a dinosaur concept backing the new concept, which must ultimately be a failure.

    Before you go destroying the old model, then shouldn't you have a much clearer course to follow on just how you are going to make money long term.

    My final proof: I have just read 'EST', enjoyed it and was thinking about actually purchasing the ebook version of 'Down and Out...' from Palm Media (retailing I think for about $9.00). However, I have also just purchased Richard Morgan's 'Altered Carbon' from Fictionwise, and am about to purchase Gibson's 'Pattern Recognition' from Palm Digitial Media. Now, copies of your ebook may not be scarce, but my cash is (like everybodies) - result, I purchased Morgan, I will purchase Gibson next week (they will both get my money); however, Cory allows me to download his for free, there is no point me purchasing his dead tree book, I don't read them, so Cory will miss out.

    Perhaps, Cory, if you sold using traditional methods, you would be making more money. How are you ever going to know???

    Finally, and I don't know if I'm allowed to say this, but I'm just connecting two publicly posted pieces of information, and then drawing an inference. From BoingBoing I see you're moving to London, ultimately, Cory, to work for Creative Commons. So perhaps a vested interest? Also, an income stream from the Creative Commons licence 'experiment' that will be of no use to other authors?

    Perhaps a low blow. But my own example above stands and my final comment (well, for now).

    Comment by Tribeless — February 17, 2004 @ 1:16 pm

  127. EST (the hardcover incarnation) has finally made it to Germany, I started reading it on the way to work today. Looking good so far, as expected :-) I'm looking forward to your arrival in GMT-Land; perhaps now I can attend one of your public appearances.
    Your paper "Ebooks: Neither E, Nor Books" has resparked my interest in ebooks (I mostly lost interest due to the lack of nice reading devices currently), I think I'll put an ascii version of EST on my smartphone so I don't ruin my precious 1st edition :-)

    Godspeed!

    Comment by Sven Neuhaus — February 23, 2004 @ 2:55 am

  128. The Passion of the Information Flow

    I've begun the push to introduce wiki and weblog technologies into the company I work for.

    Trackback by Read/Write Web — February 24, 2004 @ 1:53 am

  129. Tribeless, you be trippin' - don't be a hater.

    Comment by allez-oop — February 25, 2004 @ 5:57 am

  130. Over and over, I have seen this comment: "no one is gonna read a book in its entirety on screen."

    Not true. I read many books on screen. I don't have a hand-held device, but I download many e-books to read on my pc. Excuse me, but I am somebody.

    I understand what Cory is doing here, and I really hope it works for him. I can't speak for anyone else, but I know what I will do. I'm about to download Cory's book, and I will read it on my pc. Will I buy a hard copy? No. I don't pay for books I can get for free. Will I buy Cory's future books? I don't know yet. It depends on what I think of this one.

    I'm a writer too, but without a finished book yet. I have the first two chapters of my novel posted on my website, and I am getting a lot of interest from readers. When the book is finished and published, I may add a third chapter to my site, but I have no intention of giving the entire book away for free. I want it to be read, but I want to make money too. If I don't make money, I will have to keep working and won't have time to write.

    For those who keep saying that you can't own an idea, I agree. But when I take an idea and write a story, that is my creation. Nobody else can give you the exact same story I can. That is why a finished creation is considered to belong to the creator. Nobody else can create the exact same end product.

    I can't figure out why politics and morality have come into this discussion. Wasn't this meant to be a discussion of Cory's marketing idea?

    Comment by Audrey — February 29, 2004 @ 12:04 am

  131. Cory,
    I find your above discussion with Tribeless to be of very high quality. Reformat and distribute, please?

    Comment by Refuge — April 4, 2004 @ 5:30 pm

  132. Though this discussion appears to have petered out, I do have a couple comments/questions.

    I truly believe that the truth (if there is one) lies somewhere between the extremes laid out on this thread by Tribeless and Mr. Doctorow. I won't bother explaining what it is about Tribeless's POV that rings false, or at least out of touch with publishing realities, since the majority of folks here already agree on those points. Instead, I'd like to point out what I believe Tribeless is right about.

    First, let's talk about Mr. Doctorow's experiment. He claims that it's a resounding success -- that since *he's* making money doing this, that clearly others can. That's specious reasoning. I think Mr. Doctorow is making money doing this *because* he's one of the first doing so, and defends file-sharers at every opportunity. Anyone with even a smidgen of guilt about file sharing will cling to Mr. Doctorow's words on this topic; he makes them feel better about what they've done, providing them with moral justification. They support him because he is (one of) the first to do this.

    Another (big) factor is that right or wrong, Cory Doctorow is more famous for the experiment than he is for his writing. I'm not saying his writing isn't good; on the contrary, I think it's excellent. But the reality is that ALL of the publicity I have seen for him has stemmed from his somewhat revolutionary publishing experiment. "Doctorow releases latest novel for free!" is a common subject line. He gets publicity for his writing in places no other author does, like slashdot and other non-writing, non-literature fora. The publicity for the experiment results in sales. Logically, this can't work for everybody -- if this type of publishing/distribution were commonplace, it wouldn't be special and most authors wouldn't get the kind of publicity Mr. Doctorow gets.

    Lastly, I'll point out that theft of intellectual property is exactly that -- theft. Downloading Doctorow's stuff and reading it for free is not theft because he's giving it away to all. This does not apply to most authors -- when you download their stuff without paying for it, you are breaking the law and doing so is morally wrong, no matter how you try to justify it.

    NewB

    Comment by NewB — April 6, 2004 @ 8:02 am

  133. Every writer of note is sui generis. Lemony Snicket is Lemony Snicket not just because of how he writes, but because of how he reads aloud, how his books are packaged and how they're marketed. There's no shame in being one-of-a-kind; in not being a writer that is a "repeatable experiment" -- we have a phrase for the kind of fiction that comes out of the mentality that demands a repeatable experiment: "extruded fantasy product."

    As to infringement being "just theft." No, it isn't. You are 100% wrong. Repeating it doesn't make it so. It doesn't advance the debate.

    Here are some really significant, nontrivial ways in which infringement is unlike theft:

    * IP is nonrivalrous: you can infringe on IP without depriving the IP's "owner" of the enjoyment of her IP

    * IP infringement is covered by a completely different set of laws, treaties and moral theories from theft of goods or services

    * IP reverts to the public domain; real property doesn't

    * Many kinds of infringement are perfectly lawful, including criticism, parody, etc, as well as first sale *und zo weiter* -- we have no such parallel doctrine of "fair theft" of real property

    * IP laws are recent and are repeatedly revised in the face of new technologies. We legalized the "theft" of sheet music in the era of the piano roll, no one legalized the theft of bicycles in the era of skeleton keys

    * The US and, indeed, every successfully industrialized nation in the world has spent at least a century as a "pirate nation" infringing on other nations' IP rights -- by contrast, nations that have legalized theft (i.e., failed states that have lapsed into kleptocracies) never successfully industrialize

    There's more, but you can glean it from (re)reading the thread.

    Comment by Cory Doctorow — April 6, 2004 @ 8:15 am

  134. Wow, quick response.

    I'm not trying to imply that there's any shame in being unique, or in the fact that your fame/book sales are due in large part to the publishing experiment you're conducting here. What I'm saying is that your test case is a poor one for determining the viability of this form of publishing for others. If/when everybody's doing it this way, the breathless announcements of a (gasp!) *free* book everywhere you look simply won't exist.

    As for the rest of it -- I think you keyed on the wrong point in my final paragraph. To be honest, I'm not much interested in arguing about the definition of "theft," and I understand that intellectual property is different in several key ways than physical property.

    My primary concern is that whatever you want to call it, downloading a song or a story you haven't paid for the rights to is wrong, *if the copyright holder doesn't want to give it away for free.* It's copyright infringement, and it's wrong however the infringer tries to justify it.

    I think there are a good number of people here who put more weight on your words, Cory, than others -- simply because you are who you are. I'd only suggest that for the opposite POV, they refer to Harlan Ellison's numerous writings on this topic. His POV is that copyright infringement *is* theft, and is actually closer to Tribeless's POV than I am.

    NewB

    Comment by NewB — April 6, 2004 @ 8:47 am

  135. Well, no, you're still not getting it. Infringement isn't wrong per se. In fact, the traditional response to wide-scale infringement is legalization of the infringing activity. That is, in fact, the ONLY response to widescale infringement that the US has ever made and it's a response that's been made on numerous occassions, with universally beneficial, non-sky-falling outcomes.

    You're also not getting it abotu sui generis. Lots of people buy Lemony Snicket books. Fewer people buy books packaged to look like Lemony Snicket books. If all books were packaged like Lemony Snicket books, his sales would probably drop off. That doesn't invalidate the "Lemony Snicket experiment."

    As to Harlan: the last time we debated this, he called the chairman of EFF a "motherfucker" and threatened to "punch his face in." He's currently suing AOL to require the company to actively censor newsfeeds that, in his view carry too much infringing material. I'm not sure why anyone would want to listen to him on this score.

    Comment by Cory Doctorow — April 6, 2004 @ 9:10 am

  136. "Well, no, you're still not getting it. Infringement isn't wrong per se. In fact, the traditional response to wide-scale infringement is legalization of the infringing activity."

    I'm getting it just fine, thanks. The historical response to infringement is irrelevent to whether doing so is right or wrong. When a writer publishes a story under current copyright law, the assumption on the part of the writer and publisher is that those who want to read the story will pay to do so, with few exceptions. It's wrong to violate copyright simply because you don't want to pay for the right to read the story.

    "That is, in fact, the ONLY response to widescale infringement that the US has ever made and it's a response that's been made on numerous occassions, with universally beneficial, non-sky-falling outcomes."

    I believe this infringement is inherently different than the earlier examples, and holds a much greater potential to hurt the artist, and result in lesser-quality and quantity of art.

    "You're also not getting it abotu sui generis."

    I get it but I disagree. I never said your experiment was worthless; it's clearly a resounding success in terms of marketing *your* writing. But it really doesn't tell us much of anything about whether this type of publishing would work well in general.

    People point at this experiment as proof that wide-scale free sharing of IP will not result in poverty for artists. "See? Cory Doctorow is doing it and it's working great for him!" I say it's working great for Cory Doctorow not because it's an inherently good way to go about managing IP, but because the experiment itself is bringing fame and attention you wouldn't have gotten via the traditional publishing route.

    "As to Harlan: the last time we debated this, he called the chairman of EFF a "motherfucker" and threatened to "punch his face in." He's currently suing AOL to require the company to actively censor newsfeeds that, in his view carry too much infringing material."

    Harlan is passionate about his views, and (as anyone who's read anything about him knows) he has a short temper and a reputation for being cantankerous and rude. None of that invalidates his arguments.

    "I'm not sure why anyone would want to listen to him on this score."

    I suggested people read what he has to say on this topic because he's not a nameless face on the internet like I am. Right or wrong, many people take what *you* have to say more seriously than they take most of us, because of your fame. I'm suggesting that people might be more receptive to Harlan Ellison's views on the matter than they are to mine.

    NewB

    Comment by NewB — April 6, 2004 @ 10:39 am

  137. Saying that my posiition is extreme doesn't make it so. Saying that Harlan is passionate doesn't excuse the fact that he screams instead of arguing. Saying that infringement is wrong doesn't consitute evidence of its wrongness. Saying that the Internet's copying model is a different thing from radio, TVs, cable, or recordings and will harm artists doesn't prove it.

    Basically, we've got, on the one hand, evidence: a hundred years of technology enabling new forms of expression and new infringments, met at every turn by people screaming that the sky is falling, calling other people motherfuckers, suing to shut down general purpose communications media, and at every turn, being proven wrong. Every single time. All of them. Every single advance in copying technology has benefitted artists and creativity and has required new copyright laws.

    On the other hand, we have your "beliefs." For which you have not produced a shred of evidence or argument, other than, "I believe it" and "Harlan has a reputation for rudeness."

    Comment by Cory Doctorow — April 6, 2004 @ 1:39 pm

  138. Your position is extreme because it sits at one end of the spectrum in the discussion, with Tribeless and Harlan Ellison at the other end, and most people falling somewhere in between.

    Further, Harlan's screaming does not discount the validity of his position.

    You still fail to grasp a simple concept: that the moral rightness or wrongness of something has nothing to do with:

    how many people are doing it;
    how people have dealt with similar situations in the past;
    how easily it can be done with new technology;
    how people attempt to justify their actions now.

    Address this hypothetical:

    Forget copyright law. For the purposes of this thought experiment, it simply doesn't exist.

    John is a writer. He writes a story. Philip expresses interest in the story, and John explains that he can have a copy for the low, low price of $1, as long as Philip agrees to the following single condition: He may not copy the story in any way, to any medium.

    Philip agrees, and pays $1 for the story. The following day he types it into his computer and posts it to a USENET newsgroup.

    Is what Philip did wrong? A simple "yes" or "no" will suffice.

    NewB

    Comment by NewB — April 6, 2004 @ 2:38 pm

  139. In the absence of copyright law? Not wrong at all.

    Meanwhile, the timeless morality of copyright of which you speak is so new, the paint on it is hardly dry. It didn't come down off Sinai on two stone tablets: the greatest majority of works ever created were created under the regime you describe -- no copyright, nothing stopping anyone from copying anyone else. Copyright, and the morality of copying, is strictly local and strictly utilitarian. It was created in living memory to cope with the devices sitting in your living room, and revved every time a new device came along.

    And if you think that I -- who advocates a balance of copyright more in line with the one that the Framers of the Constitution set out -- represent the extreme end of the permissive copyright spectrum, you need to get out more.

    Comment by Cory Doctorow — April 6, 2004 @ 2:44 pm

  140. "And if you think that I -- who advocates a balance of copyright more in line with the one that the Framers of the Constitution set out -- represent the extreme end of the permissive copyright spectrum, you need to get out more."

    Two points:

    1. I didn't say you sat at the extreme end of the "permissive copyright spectrum." I said you sit at "one end of the extreme in [this] discussion."

    2. Your contention that your view of copyright is in line with what the Framers of the Constitution set out is laughable.

    As for your answer to the hypothetical:

    Philip, after agreeing not to copy John's story, went ahead and did it anyway. Nothing could be further from "right." If you can't see how breaking a simple agreement between two people is wrong, then you have a moral blind spot that makes futher discussion pointless.

    Thanks for taking the time,
    NewB

    Comment by NewB — April 6, 2004 @ 3:33 pm

  141. The Framers of the Constitution set out a copyright law that only entitled the author to 14 years' protection, if the work was registered and deposited with the LoC. If the creator was alive at the end of the 14 years, s/he could renew for another 14 years. The protection only extended to verbatim copying, not translations, adaptations, abridgements or other derived works. Tell me again about the Founders' Copyright?

    Comment by Cory Doctorow — April 6, 2004 @ 10:45 pm

  142. NewB, you know me. You are correct in saying that Philip's posting of John's story was immoral in that he broke his word to John. However, legally, and morally, John doesn't really have the right to require Philip's compliance. In the real world, Philip would tell John to "get a life", and would spend his dollar on a beer, or something else. Stringent requirements such as John's are actually damaging to him, though he may not realize it.

    Such is the case with the frothing over Intellectual Property (a misnomer if ever there was one, and something that wants me say say "mu", unsay it...)

    Tribeless' comment about the death of books is also false to fact, as most writers write because they have no choice. It is a terrible addiction. And to get paid for it? Joy!

    Cory is not the only person to set up downloads of his works, nor is his experience atypical. The Baen experiment (again, see earlier posts) show that the free downloads actually build sales of dead-tree books, and as for music, visit Janis Ian's site. Since she started promoting downloads of her music (as quickly as she can get each piece of her music out the hands of the greedy music industry), her sales and profitablity have increased.

    Frankly, "intellectual property" as defined by many people today is actually what is immoral, because of the extremes it has gone to.

    (Cory, you got people coming over from the Asimov's.com website.)

    --Jerry

    Comment by Jerry Wright — April 6, 2004 @ 11:47 pm

  143. You know, I'm still flabberghasted by the argument you're putting forward, NewB. First, the low-budget Socratic dialogue ("A yes or no will suffice"), then accusation of a "moral blind spot."

    Here's some Socrates back atcha. A blind person is guaranteed a statuatory right to convert any book to Braille or other assistive formats, under the Copyright Act. If I sell a book and put a piece of shrinkwrap around in with a sticker that says, "By unwrapping this shrinkwrap, you promise to waive your right to convert this book to Braille," is it all right if a blind person ignores the shrinkwrap "agreement?" What if I offer to sell you lunch but make you promise not to sue if I make you sick? What if I sell you a plane ticket but exact a promise that you won't seek redress if my drunken pilot crashes the plane on take-off?

    What if an author shrinkwraps her book with a sticker that makes you "agree" not to loan out the book? Should a library be bound by this agreement, despite the statuatorily guaranteed right of libraries, under first sale, to loan out copyrighted works without the authors' permission?

    A simple yes or no will suffice.

    Or, if you must elaborate, please do so while actually defending your position, rather than tossing off airy high-minded words about its 'morality." Did the morality spring fully formed from your forehead like Athena squeezing free from Zeus? Is there a reason behind your morality? Or is it just a religious convinction that we have to accept on faith?

    Comment by Cory Doctorow — April 7, 2004 @ 5:56 am

  144. "So I did the unthinkable. I violated the Code. I got into a bidding war with a buddy. [...]

    "And then I explained to him all about how you never bid against a craphound at a yard-sale [...]

    "...and how you never buy something that another craphound might be looking for..."

    -- All excerpts from "Craphound," by Cory Doctorow.

    Sigh... I wasn't going to continue the discussion, but I want to address Jerry's questions.

    "NewB, you know me. You are correct in saying that Philip's posting of John's story was immoral in that he broke his word to John."

    And that was the point of the hypothetical. No discussion of what's right or wrong can be meaningful if the two sides can't even agree on the simplest example -- that of a person agreeing to one thing and then immediately doing the opposite. You and I both, Jerry, agree that what Philip did was wrong (immoral).

    Cory says that what Philip did was "Not wrong at all." How can we even continue the discussion when we're speaking different languages? Frankly, this baffles me because Cory describes a similar kind of moral dilemma in "Craphound." There's no law that says Jerry (the character in "Craphound") can't try to outbid his friend. But there's an implicit agreement there -- you just don't do that. It's wrong. Jerry does it anyway, and *knows* what he did was wrong.

    Now we have the author of that story claiming that in the absence of copyright law, breaking a verbal agreement between two people is "not wrong at all."

    "However, legally, and morally, John doesn't really have the right to require Philip's compliance."

    I can't disagree more strongly with this statement, Jerry. John can put whatever stipulations he wants to on the sale of his story. Philip can take it or leave it. If he takes it, he has an ethical obligation to hold up his end of the deal.

    "Stringent requirements such as John's are actually damaging to him, though he may not realize it."

    Yes, I agree. That doesn't mean Philip should break his agreement with John, or that doing so is justified by Philip's belief that what he's doing is beneficial to John.

    "Tribeless' comment about the death of books is also false to fact, as most writers write because they have no choice. It is a terrible addiction. And to get paid for it? Joy!"

    This will probably be news to some, but I'm not Tribeless and I differ with him on several points here. I don't honestly think that what Cory's doing is going to mean the death of books, or that his choice to allow free copying and distribution of his books is detrimental to other writers. I do think that if copyright law is changed to allow free copying and distribution of all written works, whether the author wants it or not, that fewer authors will be able to make a living at writing and that consequently, the quality and quantity of writing will be reduced.

    I do not believe that copyrights extending hundreds of years (or author's life plus xx years) are a good thing. I'm in favor of copyrights lasting for some reasonable number of years (15, 20?) renewable in increments BY the author only, for the life of the author or until he/she decides not to renew.

    But that's getting off the point I was trying to discuss, which was large-scale copyright infringement by internet users.

    I have no sympathy for the big record companies or movie studios who are crying about losing money, when the truth is that they rip off the artists/performers under their labels far more than the fans are ripping them off.

    But that doesn't make copyright infringement *right* from a moral or ethical standpoint. Again, if the singer/writer/movie maker wants to distribute his/her work for free, more power to them. Many artists can benefit from this. If they realize this and agree to it, GREAT! If they don't understand that this can be beneficial to them, too bad -- for everyone involved.

    NewB

    Comment by NewB — April 7, 2004 @ 8:24 am

  145. Uh. Okay, Newb. Ya got me. If John didn't like Philip's onerous requirements, he should walk away from the story rather than reneging on his word.

    However, some laws need to be broken. And frequently. It has been said that "hard cases make bad law", and here we have a situation where the rights of the creator contravene the rights of the public. As Cory has mentioned time and again, copyright law as exists at present is a relatively new thing, as is the concept of intellectual property. Brighter people than I have debated whether IP actually exists because in part they disagree on a definition of IP.

    For a wonderful example of intellectual property and copyright infringement, we have the case of George Harrison's song "My Sweet Lord" having been determined to be infringing upon the Chiffons' song "He's So Fine".

    If the monkey motion (as seen at http://abbeyrd.best.vwh.net/mysweet.htm ) involved in this case doesn't tell you that "copyright" and IP have gone too far, then, what can I say?

    For an SF look at how the whole DRM thing could play out, read Karl Schroeder's PERMANENCE, and pay close attention to the "Rights Economy". Shudder.

    By the way, Cory, I downloaded and read DAOITMK on my palm, and am now reading EST. Great work, and I will be purchasing a dead-tree copy shortly.
    --Jerry

    Comment by Jerry Wright — April 7, 2004 @ 11:37 pm

  146. So if contract trumps all and the author's monopoly is supreme and should never be regulated, you'd be cool with me stipulating that any blind person who acquires my book waive her right to convert it to Braille? After all, we've agreed to it. If she doesn't like it, let her purchase someone else's book. Right?

    Glad you liked the book, Jerry!

    Comment by Cory Doctorow — April 7, 2004 @ 11:44 pm

  147. Not this novel, but Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom is licensed for the creation of non-commercial derivative works (i.e., you could make a play if you didn't charge money for admission); otherwise, email me and I can put you in touch with my agent.

    Comment by Cory Doctorow — April 8, 2004 @ 12:32 am

  148. Thank Rand, NewB, there is someone else out there who actually understands the difference between moral right and moral wrong, and that it attaches to this issue absolutely. IP issues are now the litmus test of freedom issues. I've grown tired with banging my head against the brick wall of this issue in the face of forked tongued intellectuals ...

    By the way, NewB is obviously not me, as I am far more extreme in my views (for example, I only believe in a voluntary public domain, completely under the control of the creator).

    I've given all my arguments earlier in this thread, and on other forums where I've managed to fall out with black flag anarchists pushing Cory's line (I love Cory's writing, but the black flag anarchists are hopelessly mis-guided, and do the cause of freedom much harm), I've also fallen out with fellow Libertarians ... but I know the difference between right and wrong. However, on a more fundamental level, this issue for me is beginnining to boil down to this.

    'An individual has choice and control over their life. That individual can choose to ignore tyranny of the majority and attempt to live a noble life, trading value for value, and being true unto themselves. Or, they can choose a second hander ignoble back stabbing life. Those supporting P2P in the face of an author's express desire against this, have consiously chosen the latter cold, friendless road. And it is a friendless road, because they will find there truly are no friends among thieves.'

    A very good political writer, whom I respect, Claire Woolf, who wrote for a Libertarian/Anarchist readership, has announced on her site that she is no longer interested in writing further political books, as those who she thought her friends where trading her books P2P, thus denying her a livelihood (and now the rest of us her inspiration).

    That is the sort of world the P2P'ers will lead you to. The sick thing is, you know the best they offer in return ... to quote Aaron Swartz, P2P monster, 'if the author looks like they might need it, you could perhaps donate them some money' - yes, the creator as slave/charity case.

    If you want to really be chilled, read all of the below thread (by the way, the noble Tribeless has been round a lot longer than Cory's novel):

    http://www.corante.com/copyfight/archives/002642.html

    Fans of Monty Python will particularly find amusing Aaron's logic behind essentially calling me a homophobic rascist for my defence of copyright! Sick indeed - Swartz is one of the professed intellectuals in the P2P vanguard.

    They just don't get it. If you count these guys as your friends ... don't.

    Comment by Tribeless — April 8, 2004 @ 4:04 pm

  149. Cory wrote:

    "So if contract trumps all and the author's monopoly is supreme and should never be regulated, you'd be cool with me stipulating that any blind person who acquires my book waive her right to convert it to Braille? After all, we've agreed to it. If she doesn't like it, let her purchase someone else's book. Right?"

    Right in one, Cory, you're finally getting it. I might add that you making the decision not to allow the blind person to convert to Braille would be a compassionless one, and economically stupid as you would be missing legitimate sales, however, that right/decision SHOULD be yours as the creator of the work.

    The price of this not being the scenario, that is, the undermining of a capitalist economy, the undermining of an ethical approach to leading one's life, thus, freedom itself, is a far too higher price to be paid otherwise.

    To repeat what I've also said on another site: the price of freedom is the cost of costs and services, including IP - legitimately made and legitimately purchased.

    Comment by Tribeless — April 8, 2004 @ 7:55 pm

  150. So, you're arguing, basically, that all those centuries, all the way up to 1975, when coyright required major formalities, or didn't exist at all, or expired quickly -- that all that work, created during those periods when copyright was nothing at all like a property regime, that creativity was somehow stifled? That every work created up until today (and possibly not even those, since works created today also expire, also have enormous easements though their propertization) is a pale shadow of the creativity that would have been enabled, the social benefit that would have been derived, had there been property in IP? And your argument for this is that it's "morality" and that anyone who doesn't hear that word and roll over on his back and bear his throat at the blinding obviousness of your argument is therefore "immoral" and a black-flag anarchist?

    Interesting argument. I hadn't realized we were talking relgion instead of social policy.

    Comment by Cory Doctorow — April 9, 2004 @ 3:09 am

  151. As an atheist, I've never found before, Cory, that religion and morality intersect all that often. In fact they make very rare bedfellows. Let's not be trite or fanciful in our arguing.

    Re: "And your argument for this is that it's "morality" and that anyone who doesn't hear that word and roll over on his back and bear his throat at the blinding obviousness of your argument is therefore "immoral" and a black-flag anarchist?"

    Yes.

    Regarding the first part of your rant, at no other stage in human history has civilisation had anything like the computer, and thus,the ability for one person anywhere in the globe to share one file with billions. You say your experiment is to adapt to 'change' (essentially), yet you are completely unaware of the scope and nature of that change.

    You want to see where your second hander society is leading us to? Go look at this:

    http://wired.com/news/digiwood/0,1412,62985,00.html?tw=wn_culthead_6

    To quote from that article: "Global music sales fell 7.6 percent in 2003 to $32 billion, the steepest decline since the advent of the compact disc, the trade body representing the world's largest music companies said on Wednesday. The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry blamed the slump in retail music sales -- now in its fourth consecutive year -- on rampant piracy"

    So, I hope you like your local garage bands, because soon listening to them may well be your only choice of music. No capilist economy, no choice, no freedom ...

    The price of freedom is the price of goods and services, legitimately made and purchased. This is not a difficult concept.

    Comment by Tribeless — April 9, 2004 @ 2:11 pm

  152. You're no athiest. Athiests don't embrace Just-Because orthodoxy. That's the domain of religious fundamentalists.

    Meanwhile, I'm just as aware as anyone of the possibilities of computers. They're no more disruptive to today's status quo than the printing press, the piano roll, the microphone, the VCR, the home tape-recorded and every other massively disruptive technology were to the status quos of their eras. Each one took the dominant business of publishing from 100% control over some domain to 0% control. So what? The sky hasn't fallen.

    As to music sales: the RIAA member companies eliminated 20% of their SKUs last year and daw a 7.6% drop in sales? So what? Hollywood, which has done no such throat-slashing, has had a better box office year every year since movies started being traded over the net -- in fact, box office has been growing steadily since 1959, with spikes coinciding with the widespread use of the infringing VCR and the infringing P2P nets.

    Go read what neutral Cato-affiliated economist Koleman Strumpf wrote after analyzing the first-ever empirical data ever collected on the relationship of CD sales to file-sharing:

    We analyze a large file sharing dataset which includes 0.01% of the world’s downloads from the last third of 2002. We focus on users located in the U.S. Their audio downloads are matched to the album they were released on, for which we have concurrent U.S. weekly sales data. This allows us to consider the relationship between downloads and sales. To establish causality, we instrument for downloads using technical features related to file sharing (such as network congestion or song length) and international school holidays, both of which are plausibly exogenous to sales. We are able to obtain relatively precise estimates because the data contain over ten thousand album-weeks...

    Even in the most pessimistic specification, five thousand downloads are needed to displace a single album sale...high selling albums actually benefit from file sharing.

    http://www.unc.edu/~cigar/papers/FileSharing_March2004.pdf

    Comment by Cory Doctorow — April 9, 2004 @ 2:21 pm

  153. And the fact that the various record companies started slashing not only production, but artist representation when the original Napster was in its prime, and now physically distribute less than 80% of what they used to has nothing to do with a 7% decline in sales?

    Courts in other countries than the US define and defend copyrights much differently than the US. I'm not sure as to NZs legal situation, but I know Canada does NOT agree with you.

    --Jerry

    Comment by Jerry Wright — April 10, 2004 @ 9:07 pm

  154. [Sigh] Its a moral argument Jerry. I think there will certainly prove to be economic evidence for my position, however, that is not my focus.

    I don't give a monkeys' what Canada thinks; I'm not arguing with a Country, I'm arguing for a moral position/concept. Countrys' as geographic units do not have the capacity to be either moral or amoral.

    You justify the theft of a creator's IP through file sharing, when that creator has consciously chosen to use the contract of copyright in order to stop you doing so, then morally you're a low down thief.

    Comment by Tribeless — April 10, 2004 @ 10:22 pm

  155. So it comes down to this:

    1. You're a bad person if you disagree with me,

    2. Empirical studies that indicate something can be refuted by a bunch of paid-for research from the music industry based on non-empirical surveys, which you can know without actually reading any of the studies in question,

    3. Despite the fact that every chicken-little who preceded me through a century of technical innovation was 100% wrong when he asserted, "This change is different," this change is different. Rilly. Because it is. Rilly rilly,

    4. Aaron Swartz is bad,

    5. So is intellectualism.

    In fact, you needn't have stated #5, since it's quite implicit in numbers 1-4.

    If you think you abhor religious fundamentalism, you're kidding yourself. You just abhor the religions you disagree with. The weird absolutist, ahistorical notions about IP you hold are simply articles of faith, and your rebuttal to anyone who questions them is "You are immoral."

    Comment by Cory Doctorow — April 11, 2004 @ 6:56 am

  156. "1. You're a bad person if you disagree with me,"

    No. For all the reasons given above you're a bad person if you breach an author's copyright and file share their work. That IS an absolute. We might disagree on any other number of topics, which would not make you a bad person.

    "2. Empirical studies that indicate something can be refuted by a bunch of paid-for research from the music industry based on non-empirical surveys, which you can know without actually reading any of the studies in question,"

    I'll share half a point with you on this one. Yes, great to see scientific studies being done. But, based on the empirical evidence of the post graduate research I have done, where statistical inference can be extremely 'thin' but you can still claim a win, I'm not going to take one study as conclusive evidence. Remembering that even if that study indicates the true situation (and long term I don't think it does), this does not change the immorality of the act of file sharing - different topic altogether.

    ". Despite the fact that every chicken-little who preceded me through a century of technical innovation was 100% wrong when he asserted, "This change is different," this change is different. Rilly. Because it is. Rilly rilly,"

    Many different answers. Again, I'm primarily concerned with the immorality of the act: anything that has happened in the past does not change the nature of the theft/immorality. The argument you push that changing technology now sanctions theft is a bullshit argument which leads to nowhere that I would want a society to end up.

    "4. Aaron Swartz is bad,"

    From what I've seen of his utterly unthoughtout, and grotesque views on this topic, I'm certainly leaning heavily toward that opinion. I suspect he means well, all liberals do: that just makes his scattergun approach to this issue all the more dangerous.

    "5. So is intellectualism"

    Nothing wrong with intellectualism at all (the study we have brought up is an example of intellectualism that is good: scientific method, that can be seen and analysed). What I'm against is the pseudo intellectionism that takes a scattergun approach to complicated issues and has no discernible coherent/stated philosophical base. This means that the projector of the mis-mash has no way, nor intention, to take responsibility for the results of their actions/statements. There is no context. Swartz's argument in the thread I have given is a perfect example of this.

    "If you think you abhor religious fundamentalism, you're kidding yourself. You just abhor the religions you disagree with. The weird absolutist, ahistorical notions about IP you hold are simply articles of faith, and your rebuttal to anyone who questions them is "You are immoral."

    Another good example of pseudo intellectualism which takes an argument away from context and ends up with meaningless driv... There is absolutely no leap of faith evident in what I have been arguing. I have given clearly why file sharing is theft, and from a stated philosophical/political context why the breach of copyright/IP can lead to no good (ultimately, the weakening of a capitalist economy and thus, freedom).

    You, however, in your preamble to EST, regarding your experiment, state several times, I seem to remember, you have no idea where your experiment is going. Ie, you're working solely off a leap of faith. Well, I believe you are wrong, and I think I have filled in the dots pretty well as to why. Read all my posts.

    Comment by Tribeless2004@hotmail.com — April 11, 2004 @ 3:26 pm

  157. As I understand it, Tribeless, you are against the concept of "fair use". I just found out from my co-editor Don Webb that "fair use" doesn't exist in Canada. It is a critical part of the legal system in re: IP, here in the US.

    Am I reading you incorrectly?

    --Jerry

    Comment by Jerry Wright — April 11, 2004 @ 11:18 pm

  158. Thanks for great info

    Comment by Web search resources center — May 8, 2004 @ 8:52 am

  159. Eastern Standard Tribe

    Just finished reading Eastern Standard Tribe by Cory Doctrow (author of one of my favorite blogs, BoingBoing).

    Great book, had a pretty interesting view of a near-future world in which online special interest groups morph into ultra-loyal 'trib...

    Trackback by RandomURL - The Anti-Search Engine — May 10, 2004 @ 2:28 pm

  160. Getting back on the Writing train

    So I've decided to write and serialize a short story on Read/Write Web. I'll treat it as a mini-Nanowrimo, with me as the only participant (unless anyone else is game). I'll aim for 10,000 words in 2 weeks, which is pretty...

    Trackback by Read/Write Web — May 22, 2004 @ 2:24 am

  161. To ebook or not to ebook, that is the question

    Over the past week I've been devouring a bunch of Etech 2004 session notes, including one I read today from Cory Doctorow on the subject of e-books. Cory wrote the book Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom and released it as a...

    Trackback by Read/Write Web — May 22, 2004 @ 2:28 am

  162. The Passion of the Information Flow

    I've begun the push to introduce wiki and weblog technologies into the company I work for. As I wrote in my last post, I'm aiming to enhance Information Flow within my company. There is some initial skepticism from my colleagues...

    Trackback by Read/Write Web — May 22, 2004 @ 3:48 am

  163. Something for Nothing: The Free Culture AudioBook Project

    Copyright. We all know what that is - it's how creative people protect their work from theft. Copyright is what ...

    Trackback by Chocolate and Vodka — May 24, 2004 @ 12:58 pm

  164. Something for Nothing: The Free Culture AudioBook Project

    Copyright. We all know what that is - it's how creative people protect their work from theft. Copyright is what ...

    Trackback by Chocolate and Vodka — May 24, 2004 @ 12:59 pm

  165. Something for Nothing: The Free Culture AudioBook Project

    Copyright. We all know what that is - it's how creative people protect their work from theft. Copyright is what ...

    Trackback by Chocolate and Vodka — May 24, 2004 @ 1:00 pm

  166. First: love your writing and I read the books free and then see them in the bookstore and buy them anyway (old fashioned: like to see a full bookcase)

    One small note, Lindy's Steakhouse is no more, in its place is a fantastic vietnamese place called Ginger 2.

    Try it next time you are in Toronto.

    cheers, and happy Canada Day

    d.

    Comment by david green — June 30, 2004 @ 2:55 pm

  167. Oh yes, I'm a huge Ginger (1) fan, though I haven't been back since I swore off carbs.

    Comment by Cory Doctorow — July 1, 2004 @ 12:22 am

  168. The Passion of the Information Flow

    Revisit in the context of Chaos Player.

    Trackback by McGee's Musings — July 1, 2004 @ 5:21 am

  169. Place And Identity

    Wonsaponatime, as the poet said, my village defined me, then it was my tribe, then my state, then my country. In the impermanent global flux, does it matter any more where I'm from, where I'm going? As Cory Doctorow has it, do we belong to where we a...

    Trackback by Audit Trails Of Self — October 26, 2004 @ 8:04 am

  170. Eastern Standard Tribe, et al.

    I recently finished reading Cory Doctrow's most excellent book, Eastern Standard Tribe.
    It turned out to be a real page turner, although not in the classic sense of
    the term. I'll explain more abo

    Trackback by Roaming Monkey — November 28, 2004 @ 12:38 am

  171. is this the same site named after the zine Crap Hound?

    Comment by Nick — January 8, 2005 @ 6:04 pm

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