August 24th, 2010

inverarity

Support Writers: Buy the Damn Book

So, I'm reading Mockingjay now because I got hooked on the trilogy. I even succumbed to Amazon's pre-order offer, and I hate Amazon.

This is technically not a spoiler, because I haven't actually finished the book yet, so I'm only making a prediction, but...


I'm gonna go ahead and call it -- Katniss winds up with Gale, and I think it was blatantly obvious that this is how the "love triangle" would be resolved since book one. And if I'm totally wrong here, then wait until I've finished the book before you "Ha!Ha!Ha!" me in the comments. :P


Anyway, I'm not posting this to talk about Mockingjay, but to talk about how totally fucking appalled I was to read this thread.

I am completely opposed to Digital Rights Management schemes. They don't work, they annoy customers, they encourage piracy. That's why the music industry is slowly coming around and iTunes has finally gone DRM-free.

That said, I can understand why people who make a living off of intellectual property are reluctant to relinquish the illusory protection that DRM offers. You can now take it for granted that anything that can be digitally reproduced (movies, music, books, software) is available on a torrent, and it's essentially your customers' good will (or ignorance) that keeps them from going there to get your work for free instead of paying for it.

Technologically, it is all but impossible to prevent this. Every form of encryption and copy-protection scheme will be cracked, so they are at most an inconvenience to pirates. You can go on a crusade against those who run the file servers or upload the files, but as the RIAA has found, there are just too many for it to have any real deterrent effect when you try to make an example out of a few individuals.

It's still worthwhile to send the C&D orders and take legal action against those you catch, because while keeping piracy underground doesn't stop it, at least it makes it a little less likely that Joe Consumer will become accustomed to routinely browsing for the latest book or album at Pirate Bay.

But here's the thing: a lot of people nowadays, especially younger people (shakes cane at those damn kids traipsing across his lawn) have grown up with filesharing and BitTorrent and just take it for granted that this is something you do and it's perfectly okay and normal.

Look, FOADIAF if you think that. The vast online slushpile created by allowing anyone to upload their unedited crap will not kill professional writing, but everybody feeling entitled to read someone's work without paying for it will. If a writer offers work for free (and an increasing number of them do), that's great. But if they're selling it, then you cannot simultaneously claim to be a fan of someone's work and want to see more of it while refusing to pay for it.

Libraries and used books are, of course, a slightly different kettle of fish. But I will say that, as I am privileged enough to be able to afford to buy a new book when I want one, I generally do.