dingbat

News

What’s this site?

Last year, in January 2003, my first novel came out. I was 31 years old, and I'd been calling myself a novelist since the age of 12. It was the storied dream-of-a-lifetime, come-true-at-last. I was and am proud as hell of that book, even though it is just one book among many released last year, better than some, poorer than others; and even though the print-run (which sold out very quickly!) though generous by science fiction standards, hardly qualifies it as a work of mass entertainment.

The thing that's extraordinary about that first novel is that it was released under terms governed by a Creative Commons license that allowed my readers to copy the book freely and distribute it far and wide. Hundreds of thousands of copies of the book were made and distributed this way. Hundreds of thousands.

Today, I release my second novel, and my third, a collaboration with Charlie Stross is due any day, and two more are under contract. My career as a novelist is now well underway -- in other words, I am firmly afoot on a long road that stretches into the future: my future, science fiction's future, publishing's future and the future of the world.

The future is my business, more or less. I'm a science fiction writer. One way to know the future is to look good and hard at the present. Here's a thing I've noticed about the present: more people are reading more words off of more screens than ever before. Here's another thing I've noticed about the present: fewer people are reading fewer words off of fewer pages than ever before. That doesn't mean that the book is dying -- no more than the advent of the printing press and the de-emphasis of Bible-copying monks meant that the book was dying -- but it does mean that the book is changing. I think that literature is alive and well: we're reading our brains out! I just think that the complex social practice of "book" -- of which a bunch of paper pages between two covers is the mere expression -- is transforming and will transform further.

I intend on figuring out what it's transforming into. I intend on figuring out the way that some writers -- that this writer, right here, wearing my underwear -- is going to get rich and famous from his craft. I intend on figuring out how this writer's words can become part of the social discourse, can be relevant in the way that literature at its best can be.

I don't know what the future of book looks like. To figure it out, I'm doing some pretty basic science. I'm peering into this opaque, inscrutable system of publishing as it sits in the year 2004, and I'm making a perturbation. I'm stirring the pot to see what surfaces, so that I can see if the system reveals itself to me any more thoroughly as it roils. Once that happens, maybe I'll be able to formulate an hypothesis and try an experiment or two and maybe -- just maybe -- I'll get to the bottom of book-in-2004 and beat the competition to making it work, and maybe I'll go home with all (or most) of the marbles.

It's a long shot, but I'm a pretty sharp guy, and I know as much about this stuff as anyone out there. More to the point, trying stuff and doing research yields a non-zero chance of success. The alternatives -- sitting pat, or worse, getting into a moral panic about "piracy" and accusing the readers who are blazing new trail of "the moral equivalent of shoplifting" -- have a zero percent chance of success.

Most artists never "succeed" in the sense of attaining fame and modest fortune. A career in the arts is a risky long-shot kind of business. I'm doing what I can to sweeten my odds.

So here we are, and here is novel number two, a book called Eastern Standard Tribe, which you can walk into shops all over the world and buy as a physical artifact -- a very nice physical artifact, designed by Chesley-award-winning art director Irene Gallo and her designer Shelley Eshkar, published by Tor Books, a huge, profit-making arm of an enormous, multinational publishing concern. Tor is watching what happens to this book nearly as keenly as I am, because we' re all very interested in what the book is turning into.

To that end, here is the book as a non-physical artifact. A file. A bunch of text, slithery bits that can cross the world in an instant, using the Internet, a tool designed to copy things very quickly from one place to another; and using personal computers, tools designed to slice, dice and rearrange collections of bits. These tools demand that their users copy and slice and dice -- rip, mix and burn! -- and that's what I'm hoping you will do with this.

Not (just) because I'm a swell guy, a big-hearted slob. Not because Tor is a run by addlepated dot-com refugees who have been sold some snake-oil about the e-book revolution. Because you -- the readers, the slicers, dicers and copiers -- hold in your collective action the secret of the future of publishing. Writers are a dime a dozen. Everybody's got a novel in her or him. Readers are a precious commodity. You've got all the money and all the attention and you run the word-of-mouth network that marks the difference between a little book, soon forgotten, and a book that becomes a lasting piece of posterity for its author, changing the world in some meaningful way.

I'm unashamedly exploiting your imagination. Imagine me a new practice of book, readers. Take this novel and pass it from inbox to inbox, through your IM clients, over P2P networks. Put it on webservers. Convert it to weird, obscure ebook formats. Show me -- and my colleagues, and my publisher -- what the future of book looks like.

I'll keep on writing them if you keep on reading them. But as cool and wonderful as writing is, it's not half so cool as inventing the future. Thanks for helping me do it.


171 Responses to “What’s this site?”

  1. 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...

  2. Tribeful says:

    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.

  3. Jason says:

    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

  4. daniel says:

    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.

  5. Helvick says:

    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.

  6. Paul says:

    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.

  7. dizfactor says:

    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.

  8. Blisterpeanuts says:

    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

  9. bob says:

    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.

  10. JamCon says:

    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.

  11. Robert Jamison says:

    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.

  12. Anonymous says:

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

  13. Tribeless says:

    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.

  14. garsmaz says:

    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!!

  15. zoobie says:

    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.

  16. Tribeless says:

    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.

  17. Stephen says:

    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.

  18. Opossum says:

    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...

  19. Jamesmith says:

    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.

  20. sl1ck3r says:

    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.

  21. Hernh? says:

    (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?

  22. 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.

  23. Tribeless says:

    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.

  24. Avner says:

    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.

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

  26. sargon says:

    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.

  27. James A. Ritchie says:

    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.

  28. Russell Coker says:

    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.

  29. 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.

  30. Matt says:

    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.

  31. Joe Clark says:

    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.

  32. 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.

  33. 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.

  34. Russell Coker says:

    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.

  35. Matt says:

    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

  36. Matt says:

    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?

  37. 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.

  38. Lionemom says:

    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.

  39. 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.

  40. Tribeless says:

    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 :)

  41. Tribeless says:

    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.

  42. 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.

  43. Anonymous says:

    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?

  44. Tribelss says:

    sorry again. The above post was by Tribeless Michael

  45. 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!

  46. "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.

  47. helvick says:

    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).

  48. tcskeptic says:

    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.

  49. Tribeless says:

    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 :) ...

Leave a Reply

Creative Commons License

Eastern Standard Tribe is proudly powered by WordPress
Entries (RSS) and Comments (RSS).