Piracy

Go Listen To This | Today – The ‘worrying’ battle for books

Really excellent piece on Today about books, publishing, prices and piracy. Some great voices and opinions there:

Despite £3bn being spent on books in the UK last year, a dark digital cloud of uncertainty still hangs over the world of publishing.

In the second of his reports into the impact of technology on the world of books, arts editor Will Gompertz looks at what the digital revolution means for the publishing business.

via BBC News – Today – The ‘worrying’ battle for books.

Go Read This | My Battle With E-Pirates – Advice – The Chronicle of Higher Education

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?

via My Battle With E-Pirates – Advice – The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Go Read This | Women help fuel rise in e-book piracy

How do you know you are doing something wrong?

When 35-year-old women are a problem for your industry. Seriously, does ANYONE really believe that this age-group are pirating ebooks because they ‘hate’ publishers or dislike copyright?

No, they are downloading ebooks from illegal sources because they can’t find legal ones, the prices at legal sites are well beyond what they think are fair or simply because they haven’t been reached by legitimate publishers.

Doesn’t make it right in itself but it does suggest there is work to be done by the industry that isn’t ENFORCEMENT work.

ON top of which the report continues with the whole one illegal download = one lost sale nonsense which just drives me mad!

According to the Digital Entertainment Survey, conducted by Entertainment Media Research on behalf of Wiggin, a media law firm, one in eight female tablet or e-reader owners over the age of 35 admits to downloading “unauthorised” copies of e-books.

via FT.com / UK / Business – Women help fuel rise in e-book piracy.

Quick Link | Pirates, You Be Bleedin’ Me Dry. Please Stop. « All Things Moorehawke and Otherwise

If you read this blog much, you’ll know I’m not a believer in the old “one download equals one lost sale” routine. However I can’r escape the moral rightness of authors and publishers who object to their material being pirated. Celine Kiernan, authors the rather excellent Moorehawk Triology, writes about her thoughts on the issue in a very frank blog post:

I’m just going to ask you to stop. Ok? Stop stealing money from my pocket, sales from my reputation, and business from the legit booksellers and sites who legally support me and others like me. If you can’t afford to buy my work then, please, go to the library – at least they keep track of how many times the books are checked out – and those reports go back to my publishers, and believe it or not, that’s important.

via Pirates, You Be Bleedin’ Me Dry. Please Stop. « All Things Moorehawke and Otherwise.

Go Read This | More on the Death of Publishers | Mssv

I’m not sure I agree that publishers have done nothing as this suggests, but even so, it is worth reading:

But why would the average person not pirate eBooks? Like Cory Doctorow says, it’s not going to become any harder to type in ‘Toy Story 3 bittorrent’ in the future – and ‘Twilight ePub’ is even easier to type, and much faster to download to boot.

After Christmas, tens of millions of people will have the motive, the means, and the opportunity to perform book piracy on a massive scale. It won’t happen immediately, but it will happen. It’ll begin with people downloading electronic copies of books they already own, just for convenience’s sake (and hey, the New York Times says it’s ethical!). This will of course handily introduce them to the world of ebook torrents.

via More on the Death of Publishers | Mssv.

Listowel Writer’s Week, Blogging & Paul O’Mahony

First things first, everyone should read Paul O’Mahony’s description of recent events at the Listowel Writer’s Week over at the excellent blog of the festival which he runs in conjunction with Patrick Stack: Listowel Writers’ Week Fringe

The core of his narrative is this section:

I was on my way out of the Michael Hartnett memorial event at about 2.15pm on Sunday when a cross woman came up to me. She demanded ”Have you recorded that session?”

“Yes”, I replied gently – but my heart was starting to beat strongly as I experienced the woman’s anger, the rage on her face.

“Who gave you permission?”

“No one.”

“You are a disgrace. You had no right to do that” – the woman was very agitated and I was nervous.

She reached over and gripped my arm. “How dare you.” Her grip felt fierce. This was in front of at least twenty people including Christopher Reid & Anthony Cronin. I had never met the woman before.

“I’m from the Writers’ Week Committee for 23 years. You are a disgrace. You are not welcome in Writers’ Week.” I felt in a difficult situation: she would not let go of my arm.

Paul is calling for an apology and an assurance that non-one else will be treated in such a fashion again;

I do want an apology. I feel I’m entitled to a public apology from the whole Committee of Writers’ Week – because I want to be assured that the official view and style is completely different from what I was subjected to. I ask the Chairperson of Listowel Writers’ Week Michael Lynch to make this clear in public not for my benefit but for the sake of others in future.

Just to be clear, if Paul didn’t have permission to record the event then his actions, however well intended, were wrong. Both the poets and the owner of the property have the right to prevent him recording. He ought to have sought express permission.

But the reaction to his recording was hugely disproportionate. A quiet request to erase the file or to secure retrospective permission would have been more appropriate.

Paul has never and will never seek to profit from it, his goal is simply to share the experience and help promote the festival online. His fringe blog has been one of the few ways people could track what is a publicly funded festival on a daily basis without attending (something not everyone can do). It is manifestly A VERY GOOD THING for the festival, the poets, the writers, the attendees, those who couldn’t attend and the wider arts community in Ireland and online.

In an age where the greatest danger to artists is not piracy but obscurity, bloggers like Paul should be encouraged by festivals and supported by writers.

I’ll be sending an e-mail to the committee to that effect later today.
Eoin

Defying Empire: Trading with the Enemy on Colonial New York

Eoin Purcell

Great books deserve better reviewers than I
So I was recently sent a review copy of Thomas M. Truxes’, Defying Empire: Trading with the Enemy in Colonial New York which was published by Yale University Press in 2008. Needless to say I completely failed in my mission to read the book and write a review in any kind of decent timeframe.

But I did read it and it is wonderful. The book covers a fascinating period in Colonial history when the British Empire was fighting a war with the French Empire and American merchants were intent to benefit from the trading opportunities despite the heavy presence of British soldiers and the fact that in name at least they were engaged in treason.

A book that creates and sustains a brilliant portrait of 18th Century New York and brings to life the intriguing political and mercantile world of that city under British rule. Well worth reading, 7 out of 10.
For some more detailed review on the book, try here, here, here or here.
I also decided to try something I have been toying with for a while, a video review. It is my my first such effort and is decidedly patchy, but here, in honour of along delayed review it is.

I hope someone enjoyed that!
Eoin