Ask Lovecraft: Piracy

In which we set sail for debate!

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About AskLovecraft

In which celebrated and dead author HP Lovecraft offers his advice on such diverse topics as love, finance, cooking, and personal hygiene.

24 comments

  1. It’s my belief that Piracy is wrong, say like stealing movies and books from a store, but there are some corporations *cough* Viacom *cough* that take the definition way too far that it inhibits free speech. All in all, it comes down to the use of the pirated material. Really, if you want free books and movies, go to a library.

    • Call me old-fashioned, but I persoanlly only consider something as piracy if a product is stolen/duplicated and then sold on for profit. When something is provided for free, I don’t consider it piracy. I just consider it illegitamte shairng.

      Besides, I think copyright laws are ridiculous as they stand today. Any copyright should last no longer than two decades – we must encourage artists to keep producing content, not hold onto their old ideas forever. Mickey Mouse and the classical Disney and Looney toons all should have fallen into the public domain long ago.

      • except your not sharing. if i borrowed a toy from my friend when i was a kid i didn’t get to keep it forever and call it my own. same with a library. you don’t check out a book and say well they shared it with me it’s mine forever. you got an item from an individual or site that you plan on now owning.

        you could say well i’m not planning on keeping it forever after i’m done i’ll delete it. so if i borrow your toy and decide i’m now bored with it and throw it away are we still sharing? no you’re gonna come at me like i stole your gi joe and your going to want a replacement or some other form of recompense so you can go get another one.

  2. I’m okay with piracy and I think the arguments on both sides are flawed.

    Publishers tend to complain about lost sales but if people don’t have the money or the interest to buy something then a sale wouldn’t have been made anyway. They don’t actually lose money because they didn’t have that money to begin with.

    On the other side of the argument people say it’s no different from lending a book or a CD to friend. Except publishers want to put a stop to that as well.

    I think piracy should be treated as a market indicator. There are people that will like something they pirated and buy it. This shows that there’s an interest in the product but maybe they’re unsure about it at its regular price. People can also discover new things through piracy. Some people will get something for free because they can. This time maybe its something they hadn’t heard of before and are willingly being exposed to it. In this way piracy can serve as advertising without the idiocy or intrusiveness of regular advertising.

    Piracy is also a form of preservation. For example there are a lot of computer games from the early 80s that do not exist anymore except for copying and distributing across the internet.

    Piracy isn’t the problem. The way the market responds to piracy is the problem. Looks at the video game industry. For 20 years they told us don’t download games only for them to turn around and go with digital distribution. Instead of adapting to piracy they implement more intrusive forms of DRM which are a greater hassle to customers than to the pirates. That then turned some customers to piracy in order to get a version of the game that wasn’t broken. Another problem is that video games are now being treated as a service instead of a product and piracy is an example of people rejecting that premise.

    The music industry did adapt. Not only did some artists respond that they were happy with the added exposure but they started to sell their songs for cheaper than a CD and saw more of a profit from those sales.

    As for Lovcraft’s stories, I don’t think copywrite law recognizes necromancy. He’s not getting a cut from those sales anyway.

  3. Actually as far as Lovecraft’s stories goes, haven’t they passed into the Public Domain?

    • You are correct, sir. There are at least two websites I have found that distribute Mr. Lovecraft’s works electronically for free, and it is legal for them to do so, with the notable exception for those works with which Mr. Lovecraft shares the writing credit with other authors whose estates do not permit electronic distribution.

      Sadly, this means Mr. Lovecraft gets no reimbursement for any of his works published today, whether in hard copy or in digital format, for price or for free. ALL THE MORE REASON TO SUPPORT HIS PATREON.

  4. I’ve done a lot of research on this. Not only are H.P Lovecrafts works in the Public Domain, but they are all there because he insisted that they be put there, and that everyone could build on his works/mythology.

    I’ve written many essays on the subject of copyright and Public Domain, and while I believe that works should be copyrighted when they first appear, it should only be for a LIMITED time. Originally, copyright was only supposed to last 14 years with the ability to renew the work for another 14 years.

    The length of copyright was occasionally expended since then, but started jumping by significant lengths when Mickey Mouse was about to fall into the public domain. Now copyright in America lasts 70 years after the death of the author, or 95 years after publication is a studio/corporation creates and there is no clear creator.

    It was in the late 90’s with the Mickey Mouse copyright extension in which reboots started to become planned. In the 2000’s, it became clear that studios could just keep extending copyright forever, didn’t have to take a chance on unknown properties, since the established ones would never expire. This lead to the wave of remakes and reboots we see today.

    This extension also gives too much power to the corporations, and if you think about it, the copyright and distribution rights of nearly every well known franchise is owned by one of six movie studios. That’s too much power, and went against what copyright laws were originally designed for. Companies like Disney and Time-Warner were never meant to have distribution monopoly on so many things, and as a result, have the power to crush newer competitors who wish to tell similar stories.

    The issue with this is that the balance between consumer and provider has become too slanted in favor of the provider, leaving the consumer with little legal recourse if he/she is interested in the story or a similar one, but doesn’t want to deal with the company/provider or support their practices.

    When this inequality appears in society, actions such as piracy appear to provide an alternative for a disillusioned consumer base who want change for their benefit, but are given no legal recourse to realistically institute that change.

    To simplify, the copyright laws were altered from their original intent to benefit the profits of a few organizations, instead of being used to ensure initial return on investment for creators and (eventual) affordable legal access to information for the citizens and civilians of the country. When it became clear the law no longer was designed for their benefit and well being, people found ways around the law to gain access to affordable information, creating the modern issues of copyright infringement, or piracy as it is more often called.

  5. As always, context is everything.

    If the artist is long-deceased and no longer receiving royalties for their work, then one must ask “Cui Bono” or “Who profits” and how deserving of those profits they are.

    If the artist still lives but has been removed from the process by… somewhat disagreeable (but still legal) corporate machinations, then what good does it help the artist to continue rewarding the corporate overlord for their sins? I can think of many such examples across many different media.

    Of course many of these variables are opaque to the public (some might suggest by design) so it becomes quite tricky discerning which purchases support an artist and which simply line the pockets of those whose main art is exploiting artists, so it’s a difficult policy to act on in practice.

    And then there is the Public Domain, we do accept that some stories belong to the people, that enough time has passed for them to be bigger than the mind that made them, that is a powerful thing.

    At the end of the day, copyright law as it currently exists is structured poorly, advancing not the interests of the creator nor the audience in a great many cases, and a one-size-fits all approach is simply not viable, there are too many grey areas.

  6. I am all for conscious and informed piracy.

    Downloading a movie or a book or a music album off the Internet or copying it from a friend is NOT stealing, in the sense that NOTHING gets taken away from anybody and nobody gets damaged. For details on those theories, see Richard Stallman, but in essence, copying a movie and SHARING it with a friend does NOT damage anybody. Need a reassurance? OK: does Ford have a fit when we carpool because that means we’ll buy less cars? No! Does Sony go bonkers when we use the same TV because that means we’ll buy less TVs? No! Does MAN go mental because bus companies drive people in buses (and charge for it!!!) and MAN gets nothing from it after selling a bus (Think about it. It’s the same as buying a BR and then playing it for the hood and charging for seeing your DVD).

    So. If we’re allowed to share everything else even if it lowers sales and damages the creators, I see no reason why we shouldn’t be allowed to share art too.
    And yes, the copyright laws are an asshole – essentially if I BUY a movie and ask a few friends to BOB and see it together, we are committing an act of piracy.

    However.
    I DO believe that artists and authors we enjoy and we feel resonate with us SHOULD be rewarded, and that a conscious and informed pirate, after downloading and loving some content, SHOULD donate the author, go see a concert, NOT miss their fav director’s / actor’s movie in the cinema and/or buy the previously downloaded content through legit channels. We SHOULD be aware that artists we love will not be able to produce more of what we love if we do not support them at that.

    So. Do not go looking for easy solutions and easy answers.

    I myself admittedly… pirate. One way or the other, by borrowing from friends or by downloading off the net. But bullshit I erase, good stuff I buy. It’s like a test drive, I check it out, see if it fits, and IF it does, I reward the author. If it does not, I don’t use it anyway, so no damage done.

    Yes you could argue that I could go to a library and do a “test drive”, but what’s the difference between borrowing a book from a library and downloading it off the net? Except the librarian’s fee? So support Pirate Bay and consider them a librarian!

    • I agree with all this, particularly the rewarding the creator somehow. It’s the only part of the piracy idea I find irksome, because the creators DO need compensation. Sure art for art’s sake is a noble idea, but an artist can’t live on noble ideals.
      Similarly the creative industry has always seemed off-base labelling it ‘theft’, it’s really not. No one is taking a five finger discount from a store, it’s more like making a mixtape for someone-you get the content, usually in a lesser quality format, and if you like it enough you want a top-notch version go buy it.

  7. My belief is that the entities (pirates and corporation) need to exist together because of the very nature of humans. It’s a kind of unofficial checks and balances so that the corporation doesn’t become so monolithic and so that the people get what is/was/will be denied to them for some various reason whether a product is too old or ‘outdated’ or doesn’t exist in the official databank anymore(an example of this is Crash Bandicoot and Spyro series since Activision now owns the rights and Sony doesn’t)

    That being said, copyright and drm things that exist to combat piracy are taking things way to far. First, with online bulling some people need to send themselves naked in order to get copyright for a picture to get taken down from a website. Second, DRM may make the product defective on sale and wrecks some computers. Fourth, is simple ‘Region Lock’, this has got to go, the world is connected now, GET OVER IT. Finally, doing something as simple as a “save as” on an image from google could be an infringement on a copyright.

    While pirating may be immoral to some(not everyone has the same morals), it provides a simple service of supply and demand as easy and efficiently as possible. While some companies don’t like this model, it is what customers want. Services like hulu, netflix, amazon, steam, GOG, google, etc. have this formula down and most companies are flocking to it. This doesn’t mean there won’t be pirating but a good service usually trumps pirating. When the general public start saying “I want the original” then a company barely has to worry about pirating, because the original is always going to be better.
    A lot of documentation says Steam got people to stop pirating games because of convenience, steam games still get pirated but it has slowed down some pirating. Also some people like to test the things they buy, like getting a test drive in a car and they do buy the product if they like like it.

    • I have a long reply to this. It’s not a reply to you. It’s stuff I’ve had on my mind for a long time. I’ll just leave it here. Don’t read if it’s too long, I just entirely agree with you and here’s why:
      Here is why piracy should be allowed, and why not allowing people to BORROW atuff is WRONG.

      I am an engineer, and have been working for several engineering company, creating reasonably original and “good” products. Engineering work can be viewed pretty much like making a movie – you have a group of talented individuals collaborating to make a new, reasonably original product.

      When engineers produce a product – say, a car – it is sold to you by a Company and the creative collaborators (creators) get a share (ie, a salary). You’d agree movies are pretty much the same – a Studio sells you a DVD of the movie, and the creative collaborators (actors, directors) get a share.

      We can agree both, the engineers and the artists have to make a great effort to create this product which is now reasonably original and well.. .there. Why do I say “reasonably original”, not just “original”? Well, just like no movie is 100% original and many things in it have been done before; basic parts of the car have also been done and invented before; it’s just that you added your own “touch”, your orn “new”, “different” and hopefully “better” which now makes it a viable, “reasonably original” – your – product.

      But that’s where all the similarities stop.

      See, when you buy a car, the Company tells you “it’s your car now”. You can do with it whatever you like – you can borrow it to a friend, you can drive anyone you please in it, you can car pool with it, you can pick up hitchikers. You can earn money by using it as delivery vehicle or start your own cab company and drive people around in your car for money – the Car company won’t mind nor will they charge you more or differently if you plan to use the car to earn money. But there’s more – once it’s yours, you can do with it whatever you like.
      You can sell it to somebody else. Without the original company ever profiting from it.
      You can modify it, you can take pieces of it and insert it in other cars, or you can take pieces of other cars and insert them in it. You can re-paint it, add art to it, make it your own and even call it your own product. And then you can sell it by a higher price for added value. Without the original company ever profiting from it.
      In fact you can take pieces of many different cars slab them together and call yourself the Immortan Joe. You ARE a nutball milking women for… milk, and using men for bullet fodder but you are NOT making any breaches of copyright there. Or better yet, you can call yourself George Miller. And earn a lot of money on original designs of amazing vehicles people wanna see in your movie. Even if they’re actually works of many engineers and designers that you just took, modified, and adjusted to your needs – your original Gigahorse is essentially 2 1959 coupe DeVilles pieced together, for instance –
      the Car company STILL does not mind.
      At all.
      You bought the car and it’s yours.
      Do with it as you please.
      The only restrictions the Car Company will put on you are
      – the ones regarding any possible warranties; so you play by our rules or we don’t warrant anything
      – the ones regarding you not setting up a production line and producing copies of this exact car or some of it’s parts IF they’re protected by patent laws (but I’ll get to this later).

      But what do studios/artists do? When you buy a music album or a movie or even a book nowadays, you get a disclaimer telling you you’re not supposed to BORROW this to anyone, that you’re not allowed to SELL it further, that you’re not allowed to SHOW it in public (whether you profit for it or not), that you’re not allowed to COPY it, that you’re not allowed to TAKE IT APART or MODIFY it in ANY WAY. Or use any of it’s PARTS.
      So essentially… you’re not allowed to do anything with it, which you would be allowed to do with any other product you buy. You do not OWN it the way you own other stuff you buy.
      While the Immortan Joe taking two Coupe de Villes and making himself a giant assault vehicle does not infringe any copyright laws, me taking the Immortan Joe and writing (or filming) a fan fiction – IS a huge copyright infringement.
      George Miller taking a bunch of other people’s work and making a huge amount of money by putting it in his movie isn’t a copyright infringement, but me calling up a bunch of buddies who are NOT my closest family and seeing my legally obtained copy of his (great!) movie over a 6-pakk IS a copyright infringement.

      I… simply do NOT think everything is OK with the above described situation. I think copyright laws for art should be modified to give the purchaser of art more freedom. I do not necessarily think I should be allowed to take the Immortan Joe and make my own franchise with him (as I am not allowed to set up a production line of Honda CRVs and sell them as my own) but I SHOULD be allowed to take a movie still out of a movie I bought, put it on my blog and say “I LOVE THE SHIT OUT OF THIS GUY!!!!” and let other people download it any maybe get a few $ on ad clicks WITHOUT being accused of undermining the economy.
      Oh and I think I should be able to borrow my cousin my copy of Mad Max so she can enjoy it too, and be allowed, if some day I get bored of it (tho I doubt it!!), to sell it to someone who will enjoy it more than me. Just like I can borrow or re-sell my car.

      But there is more. Remember when I mentioned not being allowed to set up a production line and producing copies of this exact car or some of it’s parts? I did it twice.
      However.
      In world that is NOT art, this works ONLY IF these ARE in fact protected by patent laws. So if I create an original work of engineering (say, my version of a clutch) or an original product (say, a car) – I have to write a very long and exhaustive essay that will prove that this IS in fact, original and unique. Then it has to go to a patent office, where my patent is approved. I have to pay for this. Oh, but this isn’t world wide. If I pay for something to be patented in USA, it’s still open domain *everywhere else in the world*. So I have to pay and have my stuff patented in other countries too. I have to strategise and cover those markets I’m interested in, so I don’t waste too much money on patents. While I’m at it, my product must be a well hidden secret because, if someone copies my product BEFORE the patenting procedure is over (takes months, years sometimes) well.. shucks, dude. So by the time I’m done patenting NO ONE HAS YET EVEN SEEN MY PRODUCT. Yep, I haven’t sold a single copy nor earned a single $ – just expense and effort to make sure nobody copies me AFTER it’s released.
      Oh but there’s more: patents EXPIRE. They last 5,25, or 30 years, depending of the industry and the country you’re patenting your stuff in. Once your patent expires, you CAN NOT re-patent and your stuff is open domain; ANYONE can use it.

      So how’s this work in world or arts? Everything you produce, create, author.. .is immediately copyrighted and YOURS. You don’t have to apply for copyright, you don’t have to pay anything to get it, and you don’t have to do… anything, really. If someone messes with you you just press charges and prove you’re the author. No expense. No need to prove your product is sufficiently original, no patent offices to allow you your copyright.

      For instance, I could say that the Immortan Joe is just a copy of Thulsa Doom in Conan the Barbarian and that his opening scene is a copy of Thulsa Doom’s speech (…and I have come to light you the way, to Paradise!!!). And if I was the creator of Thulsa Doom I could maybe press charges. But if this was a work of engineering, there would be a patent office clerk going “well you see Mr. Immortan, there already WAS an evil warlord too much like you, he’s still copyrighted, and so you cannot exist”. As sad as it would be to NOT have Immortan Joe, this is what would happen if you as an engineer(ing company) applied for a patent with a product that was too simmillar to an already patented product.

      So… essentially, if you’re a photographer, every photograph you take is instantaneously copyrighted, and no one has the right to copy, share, borrow, re-sell, display or even view it without your permission. If they buy the photo, they can’t sell it on (not even by relenting their own rights to publishing it) nor can they modify or reproduce it without your consent.

      However the person who produced your CAMERA, had to go through a painstakingly long and expensive procedure of ensuring no one copies their camera and sets up a production line of those, and that’s before they sold even a SINGLE camera. And once they sold it… it’s yours, you can take MILLIONS of photos with it without them ever profiting from it, you can borrow it to your friends without the company minding (they don’t try and tell you “you mustn’t borrow your camera around because we’ll lose sales”) and when you’re tired of it you can sell it and profit from it – legally. And… ok, not many people DO this but some DO do this – you can go to a country where this camera isn’t patented, reverse engineer it and set up a production line and sell these cameras where ever they aren’t patented.

      Oh, and your artistic copyright is lifetime + 40 years. So your stuff is YOURS until you die and then, 40 years later, your children STILL get to profit from it. So essentially only 40 years after Mr. Miller dies, will it be perfectly legal for me to slap a movie still of Immortan Joe on my blog and write “I LOVE THE SHIT OUT OF THIS GUY”!!!.
      Remember how the engineers get up to 30 years?

      I’m just trying to say, copyright laws are more flawed than we think; and they whithold more rights from the buyers than they should.

      I’m saying that purchasing a 1959 Coupe DeVille leaves you with more rights than you’ll have if you purchase a photograph of that car.
      And better yet, if you photograph a 1959 Coupe De Ville YOU get all the copyright and glory, and the guy who produced the car…
      …well he sold the car, he gets nuttin.
      Just like he got nuttin when Immortan Joe told his Warboys “hey slap this one to that one and make me my baby!!!”

      I think THIS principle is essentially flawed and that copyright laws should relent more, and allow us to share, borrow, take and modify within reason.

      So there.

      (I love the shit out of both the Immortan Joe and George Miller and think they’re awesome. I didn’t round up on either of them here, I just took them as an example to illustrate my points since I thought they’d be very illustrative and maybe, to those who loved the movie, funny.)

      • oh and to correct the injustice, aside of artistic copyright one more industry has the same policy – the software industy.

        So both George Miller and the Immortan (I… really love that guy. Such an amazing character! And such design! I could stare at that mask all day!!) could make a car that, on their wiki, is described as “made from scratch” even if it’s 2 production line vehicles pieced together (yeah and many other things, I know) but if they took Windows or Facebook and added or removed something from it…

        …yeah, poor Immortan Joe. No, I love him too much, those sharks would’ve Shredded him. SHREDDED HIM!!!

      • The difference is that, with the case of the car, or a book or other item, it is a single physical object that can only be owned or used by one person at a time. When you make a copy of a file for a friend, you are producing a new unit of the product. You have gone from being a consumer/owner to being a manufacturer. It doesn’t matter if it’s a physical copy or a digital one. That’s a big difference from simply giving something you own away, where you will no longer have access to it.

  8. I tend to be the kind of person who pirates stuff and then buys it down the line. I never pirated books though, I think books should be bought straight away, especially since the classics (Lovecraft”s works included) can be found in libraries almost in all countries. Comics and mangas I tend to download most often, because until recently I couldn’t buy them in libraries in my country and I prefer not to pay for transport, especially on comics from amazon, which means it delivers from other countries and it’s expensive. As for mangas, there are some who haven’t even been licensed in English yet, moreover in Romanian, my native language, and are only translated by unofficial translation groups.
    Until now I purchased my mangas and comics during convetions, and I bought mangas on the internet only if I really liked them and couldn’t wait for conventions to buy them and really wanted them in my collection. However, in the past year or so, one of the most important libraries in Romania started selling mangas and comics. Seems like the demand and popularity of mangas in Romania finally made them realise they should sell them in their library.
    As for tv, I have HBO on cable, so I don’t have to download shows like Game of Thrones because I can watch it on tv. I usually wait for tv shows to be on Romanian televison. Although if I’m really interested in watching recent American or English tv shows, I try watching them online.
    If anyone’s interested in watching a documentary about freedom of sharing online, watch “The Internet’s Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz”.

  9. To address the originator of the question, unless I am mistaken, the collected works of Mr. Lovecraft are actually considered public domain at this point, and the vast majority of his works are available digitally legitimately for free. The only works not available are those with which he shares writing credit with other authors whose estates do not permit them to be distributed digitally.

    Either way, Mr. Lovecraft doesn’t receive any funds for any of his writings, whether purchased or acquired electronically. Which Is All The More Reason To Support His PATREON!

  10. My brief thoughts… Downloading an MP3 of a Madonna song is not the same as downloading a Voltaire song since he’s an independent artist who lives off his art. They might both be stealing and both be wrong, but there’s an extra level of wrong to ripping off Voltaire. This can be expanded to small indy films vs Transformers 69, indy games vs Movie Tie In Cash Grab Shovel Ware 2015 and so on.

    And please please support your local library! Wonderful magical places full of books free for the borrowing!

  11. My personal thoughts on piracy:

    I don’t get into the details about whether the bulk of the money goes to the publisher or to the artist. Without publishers, the artists would never get the chance they deserve to make their art known. So while I don’t like the idea that a publisher might get more of the royalties than the artist, I also recognize that publishers are, in this instance, a necessary evil.

    I personally believe that there are only a very few circumstances in which piracy is a legitimately ethical option:

    1. If the work in question is no longer being published by legitimate means. For example, if a book is out of print, or a movie hasn’t been released on Blu-Ray. By not publishing these works, the publishers are effectively depriving the world of them, as well as depriving the creator of potential royalties. Apart from the piracy, then, these works cannot be enjoyed.

    2. When access to a particular work in question is cost-prohibitive. Has this ever happened to you? You want to play a classic video game, and find out that it is available on eBay. Only, when you go to bid on it, the bids are already up to $500. In such a case, it can be surmised that the seller is neither the publisher nor the creator, so acquiring a pirated copy (say, through the marvel of ROM emulation) is not depriving either of income.

    In this scenario, it is likely that the seller is a collector, and I do not disparage a collector for selling a rare item for a high price. After all, they kept and maintained the work in question when everyone else had forgotten about it, or perhaps even spent their own efforts and resources to acquire it in the first place. So I don’t fault them for having something that happens to be in high demand. But if there are other buyers willing to spend exorbitant amounts of money on the product, let them.

    It all comes down to this: are you depriving the artist or publisher of funds that are legally theirs? If so, then the ethical thing to do is to buy a legitimate copy.

    I do realize that there are some promotional benefits that come from piracy. Sometimes, a work being pirated actually gets more sales that way; people who otherwise might not have known about it are exposed to it and decide to acquire it legitimately. It does happen. But that in and of itself does not piracy legitimate.

  12. I believe that Art should be shared and enjoyed by all, but you should pay for comfort and quality! The message in the book should be free, but not the book itself.
    when i go to the movies i pay not to watch the film, but to watch it early, on a huge screen and great sound!

  13. As a writer, I suppose I should say piracy is always wrong, but life is rarely black and white. There is nuance. Book piracy is functionally meaningless in some cases. I am rare in that I try to keep a copy of every book I have read. Most people I know read a book and then get rid of it. If someone isn’t going to pay for a book, they just aren’t. They will hit the library or a digital library. It’s only when someone has something they want to revisit regularly (a great story, reference books, etc) that it then becomes an issue of substance.

    Music is often the same. I can go to legitimate sites like Spotify and listen to any song I feel like with very few exceptions. I pay nothing to do this. Downloading it onto my computer instead does mean that some tiny fraction of a penny in advertising is lost to the artist, but I suspect they aren’t really losing much. As a young adult, both standard sharing and piracy exposed me to artists and authors that I would never have even considered. More than once I bought the entire works of someone after having obtained illicit copies.

    If an artist sings a good single, I listen to the single. If they have work after work that I like, I throw as much money as I can in their direction to make sure I have it all and to also support them making more. If I read a book at a library that is very powerful or exceptionally useful, I make sure to buy a copy for my home library. This is just how I work. I suspect if a good portion of people worked this same way, piracy would lead to better sales rather than lower ones.

  14. Piracy can be viewed as a problem of supply not meeting demand, in some ways. If the government were to provide free downloads of public domain items (which our taxes paid to defend when they were under copyright), as well as set sane time limits on copyrights (let’s say fifteen years or until the death of the author, whichever comes sooner), downloading illegal roms would be a niche practice.

  15. This video only addresses one of the three forms of piracy. We have a tendency to regard the one as not being piracy, but by copyright law it is technically. And the third I mention is the REAL piracy threat.

    1) It is technically against copyright law to sell used books, CDs, DVDs, Games, etc. However this is such an established part of our culture that no one enforces it, and there is little chance anyone who prosecutes a small bookstore, CD shop, etc. is actually going to get in trouble. (However he did mention something about Amazon and I am curious if there will be further comment at a later time.)

    2) The most commonly referred to form of piracy is the person who downloads for personal usage. This is much like when I was in High School and one friend would buy an album, make 4 – 5 tapes and pass them to friends. If you liked the album, but not the lousy recording, you usually bought the album yourself. Today, downloading from a download site gives Mary exactly the same quality copy that John has.

    3) This is the one that is the biggest problem and there isn’t much said about it. That is actual piracy. Property is stolen, copied, and sole to an unsuspecting member of the public as being genuine. Above and beyond the costs of production and distribution it’s 100% profit. (This doesn’t happen much in the case of books (although there is a famous case with J.R.R.R Tolkien. He had no intentions of publishing The Lord of the Rings in the USA, but a publisher made copies of his work and he was forced to publish in the USA to protect his own intellectual property) This is mostly DVDs, CDs, games, and electronic media. you might think that simply not buying from a small store is protection, but this isn’t true. Even major retailers have sold pirated copies sometimes with their knowledge and sometimes without knowing.

    But the reason why I wrote this is the following; No one seems to address the major concern about piracy. Taken to extreme, piracy can make it impossible for independent authors and artists to make a living as artists. Granted there are not as many full-time authors as we like to think. A great many of them write and have a day job. The average writer doesn’t make a lot of money. For every Stephen King, there are 1,000 authors who make less than a penny a word. Now, if piracy should make it impossible for artists to make a living producing art, they probably will still do so, but only for pleasure, so their output will be low. The incentive will be gone.

  16. Technically it’s impossible to pirate something that’s in the public domain. You want free Lovecraft, or other public domain literature, check out Project Gutenberg.

    It’s just e-books, sure, but physical books still have printing costs and what have ye, so giving those away for free as soon as they enter the public domain simply isn’t feasible—unless, of course, you’re a Gideon.

    You know, I once read a conspiracy theory that the Gideon were actually a front for the CIA and that the Bibles they leave everywhere are secretly audio surveillance devices disguised as Bibles. Of course, this is ridiculous seeing that they predate the CIA by several decades, not to mention predating microphones small enough to not qualify as furniture and transmitters small enough to not qualify as freestanding structures. And besides, picking up one of the books and flipping through it (which, admittedly, no one ever does) quickly reveals that, yeah, no, they’re definitely Bibles. Boring old paper, ink, and bookbinder’s glue, with nothing sinister going on whatsoever. Well, depending on how you feel about organized religion…

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