A really excellent piece on navigating the murky waters of piracy in academic publishing [HT Joe Esposito]
A popular file-sharing Web site was offering pirated electronic copies of the book. Someone had stolen a copy of the e-book version and uploaded it to the file-sharing site. Now it could be downloaded free by anyone.
I was startled for several reasons. First, the retail price of a print copy of the book is $90, and the official e-book version is $74, so its free availability online seemed an obvious disincentive for anyone to buy it. Second, as I described in another column, I have mixed feelings about open-access scholarship. Several years earlier, an open-access project of mine had been plagiarized and printed in a commercial “closed access” book, and now my commercial closed-access book was in some sense made open-access to everybody—again without my consent. Third, even I—the editor—didn’t possess a copy of the official e-book version, yet there it was for everyone else.
But was the piracy my problem? And was it really a problem?