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Learning To Profit From Piracy 275

Posted by kdawson
from the pointing-out-a-market-failure dept.
I Don't Believe in Imaginary Property writes "Wired has an interview with Matt Mason, author of The Pirate's Dilemma: How Youth Culture Is Reinventing Capitalism, which discusses how businesses could make money off of piracy, rather than attacking people in a futile attempt to suppress it. And some of his ideas are gaining traction; work is underway on a TV show called Pirate TV, which he describes as 'two parts Anthony Bourdain, one part Mythbusters.' (Heroes executive producer Jesse Alexander is on board.) Also, Mason is pretty good about practicing what he preaches in that you can pirate his book on his own website."
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Learning To Profit From Piracy

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  • by TheNecromancer (179644) on Tuesday October 21, 2008 @04:45PM (#25459537)

    Arrr, we know you're 'ere, poppet!!

  • by giorgist (1208992) on Tuesday October 21, 2008 @04:46PM (#25459547)
    You are not pirating his book if he picks a license that allows you to copy. Otherwise he is being the pirate, by making available a copyright work.
  • Nitpick (Score:5, Insightful)

    by JustinOpinion (1246824) on Tuesday October 21, 2008 @04:51PM (#25459633)

    Also, Mason is pretty good about practicing what he preaches in that you can pirate his book on his own website

    I dislike the use of the vague and slanted term "pirate" in place of the more exact "copyright infringement".

    But the use in the summary is even worse. If he's freely offering the content, then those who download it are not pirating (even by the inaccurate, though generally-used, definition). Then are downloading it with permission.

    (It's like someone giving out free food samples at a grocery store, and then saying "go ahead, steal another.")

    • Re:Nitpick (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 21, 2008 @05:06PM (#25459869)

      If you read the article, he's using the word "piracy" in place of the more correct term "network effect". Redistribution is a secondary effect of P2P protocols, if it were a straight download the infringer would be the distributor while the "pirate" is the individual who first ripped and uploaded the "loot".

      These things were expressed clearly over 5 years ago, the reason "pirates" don't like him is because he comes over like some PR shill employing reverse psychology. It's either deliberate or he doesn't "get it", which would extend to reading and understanding relevant work in the field.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by nawcom (941663)
      If he wants some real piracy, lets download his book, print it on paper, and sell it outside of your local bookstore. He will be wishing that he stayed with the more specific terminology.
      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by chromatic (9471)

        If he wants some real piracy...

        ... print the book in China, then transport it by sea and lounge around in international waters.

        •         If he wants some real piracy... ... print the book in China, then transport it by sea and lounge around in international waters.

          But in his case he would be labeling the boxes (and the side of the ship):

          "Rocket Launchers
          and Tank Parts,
          Please Steal"

    • Re:Nitpick (Score:4, Insightful)

      by TheRealMindChild (743925) on Tuesday October 21, 2008 @05:18PM (#25460087) Homepage Journal
      Look people. Quit equating "piracy" as in "Arrrgh, matey. Ye be walkin the plank!" with "piracy" as in "I downloaded the latest Adobe Photoshop without paying for it!". They are spelled the same, but they aren't the same word (you know, a homonym). Just like the "spam" you get in your email inbox is not a Hormel meat product. You are getting pissed off at your own misapprehension.
      • Re:Nitpick (Score:5, Insightful)

        by CSMatt (1175471) on Tuesday October 21, 2008 @05:51PM (#25460631)

        The problem with the terminology is that words like "theft" and "steal" (which gain merit from the word "piracy," as this was one thing sea pirates did) are deliberately used by the powers that be to confuse people into thinking that the infringement of copyright carries exactly the same consequences as shoplifting or other deprivation of physical property. Only a moron would believe that you can receive spam (the food) through e-mail.

        • Re:Nitpick (Score:5, Insightful)

          by LandDolphin (1202876) on Tuesday October 21, 2008 @06:21PM (#25460963)
          "confuse people into thinking that the infringement of copyright carries exactly the same consequences as shoplifting or other deprivation of physical property"

          As it stands, you'd get in less trouble for stealing a CD then copyright infringement
          • Re:Nitpick (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Wildclaw (15718) on Tuesday October 21, 2008 @07:11PM (#25461531)

            Which makes sense if you think those in power mainly are interested in creating artifical scarcity to maintain control. A shoplifted CD doesn't decrease scarcity, while a copied one does.

            • Which makes sense if you think those in power mainly are interested in creating artifical scarcity to maintain control.

              Who's in power again? Is it the parliament or the MAFIAA? And does it matter?

              But as the animals look from Napoleon to Pilkington, from man to pig and from pig back to man, they find that they are unable to tell the difference.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by kz45 (175825)

            "As it stands, you'd get in less trouble for stealing a CD then copyright infringement"

            Which is a good thing. Stealing a CD may result in some money lost to best buy..but when the entire album is shared to 1,000,000 it could put the label or artist out of business.

            • Re:Nitpick (Score:5, Insightful)

              by LandDolphin (1202876) on Tuesday October 21, 2008 @10:17PM (#25463391)
              IF a million people (in America/Europe) want to download a CD, then there is probably enough draw that the artist will sell some CD's too.

              one downloaded song does not equal one lost sale. Many people that download would never purchase albums in the first place (i.e. they are cheap). So those people do not result in lost sales.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by kz45 (175825)

          "The problem with the terminology is that words like "theft" and "steal" (which gain merit from the word "piracy," as this was one thing sea pirates did) are deliberately used by the powers that be to confuse people into thinking that the infringement of copyright carries exactly the same consequences as shoplifting or other deprivation of physical property. Only a moron would believe that you can receive spam (the food) through e-mail."

          well, is closer to counterfeiting than stealing (since we are deciding

      • Re:Nitpick (Score:5, Insightful)

        by David Gould (4938) <david@dgould.org> on Tuesday October 21, 2008 @09:25PM (#25462909) Homepage

        Look people. Quit equating "piracy" as in "Arrrgh, matey. Ye be walkin the plank!" with "piracy" as in "I downloaded the latest Adobe Photoshop without paying for it!". They are spelled the same, but they aren't the same word (you know, a homonym).

        It is the same word, but with two very different meanings. The word was chosen in order to create an association in people's minds between copyright infringement and one of the most despicable types of crime known at the time. If the phenomenon of copyright infringement were only now beginning, and in need of a catchy name, they'd be calling it "terrorism", and arguing that PATRIOT Act powers should be invoked for copyright enforcement. This matters. Arrrrr.

    • Well, technically, if the rights are owned by the publisher and not by him, it is piracy.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Znork (31774)

      But the use in the summary is even worse.

      The intentional abuse of the word by the IPR proponents and industries have made it pointless to argue anymore. Better to just accept that 'pirate' has become a synonym of 'copy' and treat it like that, further debasing the expression, thus reducing the incentive for the intentional abuse.

  • by dada21 (163177) <adam.dada@gmail.com> on Tuesday October 21, 2008 @04:54PM (#25459673) Homepage Journal

    I've produced a few bands' records, and asked them to repudiate copyright on their tracks. 2 of them have, and they've skyrocketed the amount of fans that come to shows (in the thousands, on their last tour), and the amount of personalized merchandise they sell. Anything easily duplicated is called "advertising" or "marketing." You don't charge others to receive a show flyer (which could take a few hours to design, plus hours to print and many hours to distribute), so why charge for music?

    I repudiated copyright on all my writings over a decade ago. My blogs let others take the content I created, and republish it as their own if they want. The two e-books I've written also are freely distributed, with a request for $20 in the final chapter if the books help them.

    My business newsletter used to cost over $1000 per year, but now it is free, and I tell others to photocopy it or email the PDF out to others. It generates traffic for my websites, and it also builds reputation to my expanding customer base.

    I see no reason for copyright any longer. For items that are costlier to create (TV shows, movies), product placement is a fine way to profit from the distribution of the product. Subscriptions also can work, just like a chapter-by-chapter written blook that continues as people fund the author's writing.

    Those who hold onto the statist idea of intellectual property will be left behind. They'll find their market swamped by amateurs with the same amount of talent, and with more drive to distribute their creations as artists always have.

    I like this idea, and I recommend others consider going that route when they create content that is easily duplicated. To support it, there are always ways to create value added items (t-shirts, in-person signings or shows, etc).

    • by PylonHead (61401) on Tuesday October 21, 2008 @05:11PM (#25459957) Homepage Journal

      For items that are costlier to create (TV shows, movies), product placement is a fine way to profit from the distribution of the product.

      "Mommy.. why is Gandolf drinking a coke?"

      "Never mind, dear."

    • by ari_j (90255) on Tuesday October 21, 2008 @05:11PM (#25459973)
      The wisdom in this probably depends on which one or more of the following are your "product":
      1. Recordings of your music
      2. Merchandise with your logo on it
      3. Attendance at your live performances
      4. Promotion of other products (for instance, Miley Cyrus's music is mostly about getting you to watch her on TV and buy her lunch boxes)

      For a music act whose real product is #3, giving away #1 counts as advertising. For an act whose real product is #1, giving it away, including giving up copyright protection of it, is bad management. It really does depend on your product and the market for it. That said, I wish more music acts considered live music to be their product and everything else to be promotion of the same.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by my $anity 0 (917519)
        I don't know, I've been getting more into music lately and almost have a band together. The thing is, we're all college students, and then most of us are going to go on to be engineers and scientists, and if we keep up with it, we're not going to have time for many live performances, while recording can even be done long distance. I doubt #2 and #4 are going to be our product, and although it's for fun, making money at it is a good thing. We're probably going to go with the "Put everything up on a website a
        • by Rary (566291) on Tuesday October 21, 2008 @06:08PM (#25460825)

          ...we're not going to have time for many live performances, while recording can even be done long distance.

          I'm not trying to be snarky here, and I'm also a musician who has played in a few bands and even recorded a few albums, but here's the thing: if you're not willing or able to put in the time to gig, maybe you don't deserve to make money at it.

          You see, too many people think that just because they created something, they deserve to be paid for it. That's simply not true. Being in a band should be a job, not just something you do for a few weeks or months and then expect to sit back and let the royalty money flow in for the rest of your life.

          You have every right to try to make money off your music. However, if it doesn't work, then too bad. Nobody owes you just because you decided to record an album.

          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            by my $anity 0 (917519)
            People don't deserve to be paid for it just because they created it, however, they do deserve to be paid because someone considered their product (a recording) worthwhile to purchase. People should be allowed to charge for their recordings. Recordings are a valid product, they provide utility, and therefore a valid and fair price can be set for them.
          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            by Gyppo (982168)
            Willing to put in the time and being able to put in the time are two very different things. I have a full time job, house and family. There is no way I could take off more than a few days to tour to promote my band's album. Saying if you don't tour you don't deserve to be paid for your music is ridiculous. True that just because we created an album, we don't necessarily deserve to be paid for it, but if somebody wants to own our music, that also doesn't mean they get it for free. Of course they need to
            • by CopaceticOpus (965603) on Tuesday October 21, 2008 @09:47PM (#25463131)

              Saying if you don't tour you don't deserve to be paid for your music is ridiculous.

              If you want to paid, provide something to people that is in limited supply. Digital music is infinite in supply. Current laws create an artificial scarcity, but that is no longer something that benefits society, and I believe those laws will not last.

              XTC has not toured for over 10 years. So you think people should just be able to take their music because they don't tour?

              Perhaps if copying their music freely was legal, they wouldn't be so heavily marketed, and other bands with comparable talent and less money would be able to compete for fame.

              Copyright is not for the benefit of artists. It is for the benefit of society at large. It is to encourage the creation of new works, so that everyone has music to enjoy. We've reached the point where the supply is virtually limitless. If copyright was no longer valid, there would be no shortage of new bands and recordings. Therefore society at large benefits most from the right to freely copy music.

              Besides touring, I think bands should retain rights to profit. They can sell tshirts and special edition recordings of their music, as well as sell CDs for any profit they can get from those people who want physical media. This creates avenues for the listeners to support the band even if they can't see them live.

          • "You see, too many people think that just because they created something, they deserve to be paid for it. That's simply not true. Being in a band should be a job, not just something you do for a few weeks or months and then expect to sit back and let the royalty money flow in for the rest of your life."

            To play the devils advocate for a moment... I apologize but the world does not work anything like that. There's plenty of people who make money doing damn near nothing of value, except looking good. If you'

      • by cromar (1103585) on Tuesday October 21, 2008 @05:56PM (#25460693)

        The thing is reason #1 is already a very small percentage of musicians. 10% of CD's are profitable [archive.org]:

        Another factor commonly overlooked in assessing CD prices is to assume that all CDs are equally profitable. In fact, the vast majority is never profitable. Each year, of the approximately 27,000 new releases that hit the market, the major labels release about 7,000 new CD titles and after production, recording, promotion and distribution costs, most never sell enough to recover these costs, let alone make a profit. In the end, less than 10% are profitable, and in effect, it's these recordings that finance all the rest.

        On top of that, the percentage of musicians making much of a profit [ascap.com] on music sales at all is so low that this hardly matters.

        Further reading:
        http://www.azoz.com/music/features/0008.html [azoz.com]
        http://web.archive.org/web/20030313214407/http://www.riaa.org/PR_STORY.CFM?ID=491 [archive.org]

      • by Yvanhoe (564877)
        5. Get less money.

        Let's face it. Publishers and through them, artists, used CD distribution in order to make insane amounts of money. Whatever is the new system, they will make less money and success will be measured differently than by number of clients.
    • by Microlith (54737) on Tuesday October 21, 2008 @05:13PM (#25459997)

      I see you're falling into the trench of "I have it figured out for $medium, therefore copyright is moot." Unfortunately, not everything falls under those banners.

      For items that are costlier to create (TV shows, movies), product placement is a fine way to profit from the distribution of the product.

      And what about movies or TV shows where such product placement would be horribly out of place? A medieval movie with GM/GE/Pepsi placements? Hell even my favorite hobby, anime, was getting into it with Code Geass, which was packed FULL of Pizza Hut ads which were distracting and ended up being the butt of jokes there were so many.

      Subscriptions also can work, just like a chapter-by-chapter written blook that continues as people fund the author's writing.

      I recall Stephen King trying this and giving up.

      Those who hold onto the statist idea of intellectual property will be left behind.

      Or they'll give up, when they find that they can't recoup the costs of production, much less make a profit.

      They'll find their market swamped by amateurs with the same amount of talent, and with more drive to distribute their creations as artists always have.

      You can't eat drive and talent (well you can, but it's considered anti-social...) I don't see people making entire movies and TV series that they just toss up on the internet unless they've got some greater source of funding to ensure they won't go broke in the process.

      To support it, there are always ways to create value added items (t-shirts, in-person signings or shows, etc).

      Which is pointless, since if you repudiate the copyright on your works (ALL of your works) then someone else might as well hang at your shows and sell knockoffs of what you're selling. And signings have limited effectiveness beyond single authors/bands, I'd like to see how you would fund the creation of an entire TV series with that.

      Copyright is a very effective tool to allow for the creation of easily duplicated works without sticking it to the creators and essentially punishing them for making the investment. It needs to be reworked and it needs respect. However, the internet audience is extremely insular, rude, and just as selfish and greedy as the MPAA/RIAA (and member companies) when it comes to these things.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        I recall Stephen King trying this and giving up.

        And the Red Hot Chili Peppers shouldn't give their music away for free either, at least not in an attempt to make money. For people who are already extremely successful in the traditional methods, they're not going to see the same amount of money using this new technique. However, for people like Brandon Sanderson [brandonsanderson.com] who are just getting into it, letting out free works can be a good way to get entrenched and build good will.

        • by Microlith (54737) on Tuesday October 21, 2008 @05:37PM (#25460439)

          And the Red Hot Chili Peppers shouldn't give their music away for free either

          That's not related at all to Stephen King's attempt. He tried doing the suggested pay-by-chapter method where readers could optionally pay if they liked it, and it ended up being a waste of his time. I don't know if he bothered to wrap the novel up and publish it the regular way or just gave up on it.

          And I never said they shouldn't give their music away for free, that's entirely -their- call. My issue is with the OPs suggestion that they repudiate their copyright, which is needless self-punishment that opens the door for someone else to make use of it without ever acknowledging the source (thus defeating the point of said "promotion" entirely.)

          For people who are already extremely successful in the traditional methods, they're not going to see the same amount of money using this new technique.

          On the contrary, they are the only ones who will likely see any sort of success from it as the hard part, promotion, is already paid for. Everyone knows who Radiohead is, so people flocked in server crushing numbers to their website for their new album. However for new artists like the one you linked, it'll give him goodwill among small circles but it doesn't have nearly the punch as getting on the radio (another jar of worms) or your music on some movie soundtrack (which is what the giant labels do.)

          And again, releasing one's music has nothing to do with OPs suggestion of releasing without copyright. Said movie studio will just have some famous name cover your song and leave you out to dry.

          • That's not related at all to Stephen King's attempt. He tried doing the suggested pay-by-chapter method where readers could optionally pay if they liked it, and it ended up being a waste of his time.

            My point was that he was only wasting his time if he was looking to make money on that one novel, and since he didn't he killed the project. If you're looking to make money off of that project specifically, then you're doing it wrong, especially when you've already got a proven vehicle to make a ton of money (which was my point with the red hot chili peppers).

            Radiohead made money off of sales which were benefited by the free/donation release, and because of that it was a huge success. Cory Doctorow relea

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by thisissilly (676875)

            That's not related at all to Stephen King's attempt. He tried doing the suggested pay-by-chapter method where readers could optionally pay if they liked it, and it ended up being a waste of his time.

            At $463,832 in profit on an unfinished novel, I would love to have such a "waste of time". http://www.theregister.co.uk/2001/02/07/stephen_king_reveals_the_plant/ [theregister.co.uk]

            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by LandDolphin (1202876)
              You have to compare that to what he normally gets paid to write a book to decide if it is a "waste of time" or not.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by veganboyjosh (896761)
        "And what about movies or TV shows where such product placement would be horribly out of place? A medieval movie with GM/GE/Pepsi placements?"

        A knight's tale had a product placement for Nike.
      • However, the internet audience is extremely insular, rude, and just as selfish and greedy as the MPAA/RIAA (and member companies) when it comes to these things.

        and how did you arrive at this conclusion? did you do any research, or did you just assume that all internet users are rude/selfish/greedy/etc.?

        actual studies have shown that P2P file-sharing boosts CD sales [michaelgeist.ca]. so P2P users actually spend more on music purchases than non-P2P users.

        your post is a classic example of the reactionary mentality preventing t

      • > I see you're falling into the trench of "I have it figured out for $medium, therefore copyright is moot." Unfortunately, not everything falls under those banners.

        And I see that you forgetting that copyright was only formally _recently_ invented in the 17th century, by _publishers_. OMG! How did the world ever survive until that point!? :-)

        The quality and distribution of art is not dependent on copyright, and in fact the reverse is true in that copyright is used a tool to restrict supply in the hopes

        • by mattack2 (1165421)

          The fact that the majority of textbooks are copyrighted, shows that the world clearly values greed over the greater good and lasting value of educating people.

          You're implying that greed is bad.

          But beyond that, the people who write, edit, print, ship, etc., textbooks deserve to eat too. (Nowadays there are textbook selling/trading sites, so you don't have to just sell it back to the campus bookstore for a tiny fraction of what you paid at the beginning of the quarter/semester.. I wish something akin to th

      • by evilviper (135110)

        I'd like to see how you would fund the creation of an entire TV series with that.

        Seems to work for PBS.

      • by Jherek Carnelian (831679) on Tuesday October 21, 2008 @08:20PM (#25462273)

        Subscriptions also can work, just like a chapter-by-chapter written blook that continues as people fund the author's writing.

        I recall Stephen King trying this and giving up.

        King's 'experiment' should be a lesson in how NOT to sell subscriptions.
        He wanted people to pay for each chapter AFTER it was released, not before.
        That was so stupid that it makes me wonder if his intent (or whomever proposed it to him) was to deliberately fail.

        A good subscription based system will give away a few chapters/episodes/songs and then start requiring a minimum amount of money in the bank before the next chapter/episode/song is released because such systems are all forms of the 'ransom' business model - no kidnapper would be stupid enough to return the kid and then demand a ransom, but that's the equivalent of how King ran his experiment.

        The 'ransom' model actually has a lot of benefits all around - it reduces the risk of losing money to nearly zero since the money is in the bank before production work even has to get started. For consumers, it takes the middle-man, the guy who treats all content as just another product to be packaged up and resold, out of the middle. It allows people to much more accurately vote with their dollar for what productions they want to see get made.

    • by Tom (822)

      You don't charge others to receive a show flyer (which could take a few hours to design, plus hours to print and many hours to distribute), so why charge for music?

      While I'm with you on other ideas, this one is simply misleading.

      The flyer is clearly a secondary/supportive item - the show is the main item.
      The music, on the other hand, is the main item of a band. There's nothing that it supports. It is the thing.

      So you can't compare them. Two different classes of things.

    • by Artifakt (700173) on Tuesday October 21, 2008 @05:34PM (#25460395)

      You don't charge others to receive a show flyer (which could take a few hours to design, plus hours to print and many hours to distribute), so why charge for music?

      I'm sure you'll get responders who tell you that's simplistic, but I want to explore that idea further. Nobody gets to profit from everything forever without operating costs. Corporation or individual, you have to put in time, effort or money somewhere to get more money out. If you want a profit, you don't charge for the show flier because it's advertising, aimed at making you money from something else. Maybe you sell the music, maybe the music is another part of the give-aways, and you sell ads, or controlled concessions, live tickets, or whatever, but if you want to sell anything, there will be investment costs associated. You can't even sell your work to an employer without committing to be there on time, a dress code, or simply eating breakfast to suit the employer's schedule.
            For all the people who are pro the existing copyright laws, and especially the ones who love to throw around the violation=stealing line, what about the people on your side who seem bound up in the illusion of unlimited profit with no investment? Take a company which is making a profit selling tee-shirts with its logo and advertising on them, and is actually getting paid by people to let them become walking billboards - Is that a sustainable long term model, or will fashion doubtless change? Can anyone really afford to enforce copyright against people distributing movie trailers? If someone uses the law to control negative reviews, how can they avoid reducing free word-of-mouth advertising by the very same act? How can they file hundreds of cases in court and avoid people thinking they are sue happy? You've got organizations on the pro-IP side that seem to think the law will stretch to let them do all that, and more.
            Even if you care deeply about creator's rights and feel the people doing illegal downloading are all thieves, how are you going to satisfy the IP holders who want unlimited profit with no investment, and think tougher man made laws are a way to somehow bend what are really laws of nature that stand in their way. IP law can't protect a creator from all risks associated with seeking a profit, it can't squeeze blood from a stone to actually get $250,000 settlements from violators who barely make minimum wage, it can't keep them from having to advertise if they want to reach a broad audience, it can't let them slavishly imitate a true leader in marketing and get all the benefits of coming up with something for the first time.

      • You can't because the IP holders are greedy pigs that think ripping your cd to your iPod is stealing [arstechnica.com] because you didn't cut them another check. For those of you that think copyrights are fine as they are,I have one sentence for you: Steamboat Willie is still under copyright. The man has been dead for half a century,yet the first cartoon he made,which was made at a time when most cars still had to be started with a handcrank,is still under copyright. That is just fucked up.

        Copyrights are SUPPOSED to be a contract between the public and the copyright holder. We give them a limited monopoly on their creations in return for enriching our society through addition to our public domain. As it is now we get nothing in return but screams of "piracy!" and demands for more money every time we buy a new device. I repeat that is just fucked up.

    • You don't charge others to receive a show flyer (which could take a few hours to design, plus hours to print and many hours to distribute), so why charge for music?

      Really there are a couple different issues to talk about. The first question is, what's your policy toward consumers of your products? This question seems to be what your post is focussing in on, and I agree that there's probably a good business model for content with loose controls.

      But that doesn't require that you actually repudiate your copyright claims, and copyright takes care of other issues too. For example, you talked about releasing your writings without restricting distribution, and requesting

    • by clickety6 (141178) on Tuesday October 21, 2008 @05:50PM (#25460611)

      My business newsletter used to cost over $1000 per year, but now it is free,

      Your ideas interest me, and I wish to subscribe to your newsletter (now that it's free, of course!)

    • I've produced a few bands' records, and asked them to repudiate copyright on their tracks. 2 of them have, and they've skyrocketed the amount of fans that come to shows

      Yeah, but how many of the increased fans were actually just /.ers that showed up to support an end to copyrights? And did they immediately leave when they realized the bands weren't running linux?

    • Ironman was ruined for me by the relentless advertising which led my girlfriend to ask sarcastically at one point "does everyone drive an Audi in America?" No to product placement - it sucks massively.

    • by davecb (6526) * <davec-b@rogers.com> on Tuesday October 21, 2008 @07:20PM (#25461635) Homepage Journal

      The O'Reilly book, "Using Samba" was published using a free license, prohibiting only commercial large-scale printing for profit.

      The book was then shipped with Samba, as the Samba Team's official reference, and people started reading it online, printing off small chunks and using it.

      When they wanted a complete copy to mark up or to read in the bathtub, they went to O'Reilly and bought the nice printed copy on thin paper that you could actually carry in one hand (;-))

      Net result: it jumped to the top of Samba book sales, and was very profitable for O'Reilly.

      And all because my editor (Andy Oram) was smart enough to realize that he could try an experiment in new media with a little help from the Samba Team

      --dave

    • I'm curious. Do you mind sharing with us the numbers on people who actually sent those $20?
  • I license this post in the public domain. Try stealing it now bitches!
    • by Tetsujin (103070)

      I license this post according to the attached EULA. Usage of this post implies agreement to the specified terms: no other condition grants you the right to use this post in any way. All future work performed by me in refining or updating this post will fall under the same licensing terms. Try stealing it now bitches!

  • The most stolen book (Score:3, Interesting)

    by davidwr (791652) on Tuesday October 21, 2008 @04:54PM (#25459687) Homepage Journal

    It's been said that the most stolen dead-tree-form book is the Christian Bible.

    Things that make you go "hmmmmmmmm."

  • Someone should change the author of this book and re-distribute that way, then he will learn merits of piracy.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by gilgongo (57446)

      Someone should change the author of this book and re-distribute that way, then he will learn merits of piracy.

      Oh yes, let's not forgot how JK Rowling's publishers also live in fear of the terrible damage it might do to their sales if copies of Harry Potter started being sold with the words "By Joe Freetard" written on them.

      Seriously - since when has anyone (even the RIAA!) ever indicated that malicious mis-attribution of works was even remotely a problem?

  • by Wiarumas (919682) on Tuesday October 21, 2008 @04:57PM (#25459721)
    If he is such a strong believer in piracy, why is he allowing users to download it for free? Shouldn't he force them to pay for a DRM version while he secretly leaks a free torrent on the side? Now THAT would be hardcore.
    • by gilgongo (57446)

      If he is such a strong believer in piracy, why is he allowing users to download it for free? Shouldn't he force them to pay for a DRM version while he secretly leaks a free torrent on the side? Now THAT would be hardcore.

      Now that is funny!

    • by CSMatt (1175471)

      Is the Kindle version [amazon.com] DRM'd enough for you?

  • Obviously, Microsoft is anti-free enterprise [slashdot.org] today [today.com].

    They just don't understand that it's not a zero-sum economy, and others' freedom of enterprise with their enterprising efforts is good not only for everyone else, but for them.

    Without the pirates, would they have known to sell Windows for $3 in China? Of course not!

  • "âoeIâ(TM)m convinced that Steve Jobs is currently working on a double-sided touchscreen laptop, which has a great screen density so you can hold it on its side and you can touch it and turn pages. When something like that comes along, then the e-bookâ(TM)s going to be a real threat. And I think the publishing industry is going to collectively crap its pants.â"

    There's just one problem with this argument. Books aren't as easy as movies and music to pirate. Oh it's possible, but it's not a

  • Screw the pirates (Score:3, Insightful)

    by MikeRT (947531) on Tuesday October 21, 2008 @05:08PM (#25459905) Homepage

    In college the biggest pirates I knew were the guys who had enough money to buy most of what they got illegally. It never even phased them that they were often pirating the works of small bands that needed every penny that they could get. It never occurred to them to just wait until a DVD came down to $7.50 at Wal-Mart. I still know people who are like that, and they're pulling down nearly six figure salaries.

    Charge them with petty or grand theft as appropriate, if you ask me. If you want to change the youth culture it's really simple. Get all of this copyright infringement and DRM bullshit out of the picture and start hitting them with theft charges.

    I'm just sick of the entitlement mentality that is wedded to a near Stockholm Syndrome among a lot of younger people. If the music and movie industries are so bad, stop downloading their shit. Ignore them, make them irrelevant. I swear, it's like a bunch of rich kids crying about exploitation, while they shop at the Gap and A&F.

    • by gilgongo (57446) on Tuesday October 21, 2008 @05:40PM (#25460479) Homepage Journal

      In college the biggest pirates I knew were the guys who had enough money to buy most of what they got illegally.

      They may have been *able* to pay, but how do you know they *would* have paid? This is the thing - you can't prove that a download is a lost sale any more than you can prove all the people that take free newspapers handed out at the station in the morning are depriving the broadsheets of sales. There simply isn't a 1-to-1 substitution going on. If it's there for free, most people will take it. But if it wasn't for free a great many would never bother to pay in the first place because it's not as if music (or news) is essential.

      If the music and movie industries are so bad, stop downloading their shit. Ignore them, make them irrelevant. I swear, it's like a bunch of rich kids crying about exploitation, while they shop at the Gap and A&F.

      Er, by your own logic, I think they ARE ignoring the music and movie industries. They are instead paying attention to the artists. Can you see the difference?

    • by CSMatt (1175471)

      Charge them with petty or grand theft as appropriate, if you ask me. If you want to change the youth culture it's really simple. Get all of this copyright infringement and DRM bullshit out of the picture and start hitting them with theft charges.

      Yeah, because making something criminal totally removes the problem. It never causes it to just go underground or use alternative means to avoid detection. That's why there are zero illegal drugs in this country. Yep.

      I'm just sick of the entitlement mentality that is wedded to a near Stockholm Syndrome among a lot of younger people. If the music and movie industries are so bad, stop downloading their shit. Ignore them, make them irrelevant. I swear, it's like a bunch of rich kids crying about exploitation, while they shop at the Gap and A&F.

      Now here I agree with you. Crying "THEY DONT DSRV MONY BCUZ THEY R TCH SUK" and then downloading it anyway is hypocrisy in its simplest form. Even if the action was legal, you're still a hypocrite for saying a song is terrible but still enjoying it.

    • by merreborn (853723) on Tuesday October 21, 2008 @07:02PM (#25461439) Journal

      In college the biggest pirates I knew were the guys who had enough money to buy most of what they got illegally. It never even phased them that they were often pirating the works of small bands that needed every penny that they could get.. I swear, it's like a bunch of rich kids crying about exploitation, while they shop at the Gap and A&F.

      That's quite a strawman you've assembled there. Pirates are all just spoiled little rich kids, eh?

      While there are a few of those, pirates come in many varieties. Some are young adults working full time at near-minimum wage to put themselves through school. Some are married with kids. Some *are* children. They're your friends, family, and neighbors. Rich, poor, young, old, spoiled, starving... They're everywhere, and everyone.

      Get all of this copyright infringement and DRM bullshit out of the picture and start hitting them with theft charges.

      Need we differentiate theft from copyright violation yet again? Putting everyone who download an MP3 in jail is just absurd. The punishment does not fit the crime.

      When you steal something, the owner is deprived of a physical good. They have less. When you violate copyright, the owner does not experience loss. And no, not every copyright violation is a "lost sale".

      Even were this idea seen through, file sharing would just become even more anonymous. The technology is already here [wikipedia.org]. The only thing stopping adoption of even harder-to-trace protocols is the lack of real consequences for using the current, widely adopted ones. Should the consequences increase, darknets will become the p2p mechanism of choice overnight, and prosecution will become nigh impossible.

      The file sharing cat is out of the bag, and no amount of legal strong arming will ever stuff it back in.

  • Matt Mason was a toy [wildtoys.com].

    So, he's a journalist, too!

  • So I tried to download the book from the website right, it has an initial value of $5.00 but you can set the price to whatever you want. I set it to $0.00 as I like to "try before I buy." But unfortunately, the "free download" amount has reached it's limit for the day and I was told to try again the following day.

    So, for those of you wondering how you can pirate a free book... if I get it in a torrent, well there you go.

    But on the other hand, some people like myself can't escape the pirate label, since my great grandfather was in fact a pirate. It's like like the geico commercials, "so easy a cave man can do it."

    :P
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      http://thepiratebay.org/torrent/4335851/The_Pirate_s_Dilemma

  • This guy Matt Mason comes really close to thinking something original, and then completely misses it entirely. He sounds like a complete and utter knob!

    It's amusing. You might think a pro-free-information ideology would go over well in the slashdot crowd. But this guy absolutely doesn't get it.

  • by drDugan (219551) on Tuesday October 21, 2008 @05:50PM (#25460625) Homepage

    Black markets emerge for commodity goods when there are significant discrepancies between marginal costs and market price. This is exactly the case for digital entertainment media, where technology has eliminated the ability of major media producers to (technically) control the means of distribution of their product, and the marginal cost of distribution is orders of magnitude less than the price to legally buy the good. The development of the black market / piracy is expected in this case.

    But - there is a middle ground. There is not just "selling media" vs. "pirating media"...

    We have built LegalTorrents to get around the "dilemma" we have a working business model that both incorporates emerging technology and ALSO provides financial supports to Content Creators. The answer is simple: give away what you can't control, and provide value when customers choose to pay.

    All the media we host can be downloaded without paying for it, but Content Creators can ask for Sponsorship - voluntary payments. Why would a user pay for media they can get with out paying for it? The answer is give them more: Give them more. Give public credit and community props for those users who pay for the media they love. Give them access to the Content Creators. Give them extra material not easily found online. Give them early access to concerts, private events, etc. Enable the Content Creator to build up a community around their work that is available for those users who pay to support it.

  • What a dildo (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Toll_Free (1295136)

    More drivel advertising.

    How are you pirating his book, when he gives permission by giving access on his own website.

    I'd suggest actually reading about pirace from someone that doesn't have a confused idea about it in the first place. /., please. Not so much do you have to do 100 percent due diligence in the stories you write, can you just do a basic sanity check?

    Piracy is NOT downloading things you have permission for.

    --Toll_Free

  • I knew they wouldn't be lasting that long (ours was turned off some time ago) but now I'm unable to browse Usenet mp3 and lossless genres and d/l stuff that I thought might be interesting. I found so much cool stuff that way and even went to a few concerts (and bought CDs) because I found artists that I liked. I also recommended stuff to friends.

    Ever since the ISP terminated access to binary groups I don't try out new stuff any more. I even terminated my GigaNews account as I just used it as a fill-in serve

  • Piracy is reinventing Capitalism? Piracy is capitalism. Copyrights -- those limited monopolies whose usefulness is quite debatable nowadays -- are the antithesis of capitalism and have been "reinventing" it for a while now.
  • Meanwhile, on the real piracy front, the MV Faina is still being held by Somali pirates. It was surrounded by US warships weeks ago. Now some additional NATO warships are surrounding it. The pirates want $20 million to release the mostly-Ukrainian crew, and Ukrainians have collected the money. [earthtimes.org] This sort of piracy happens frequently, but this ship is unusual because it's loaded with old Soviet tanks and other weapons.

    This has been dragging on for weeks. Neither the US nor NATO wants to take the casualt

  • ... by Abbie Hoffman.

    Calling it a "how to survive by dumpster diving and shoplifting" manual would not cover it.

There is no distinction between any AI program and some existent game.

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