Print Books Are Target of Pirates on the Web

<A HREF="">This New York Times story</A> covers the latest dust ups between authors and their work showing up on the Web. "Ursula K. Le Guin, the science fiction writer, was perusing the Web site Scribd last month when she came across digital copies of some books that seemed quite familiar to her. No wonder. She wrote them, including a free-for-the-taking copy of one of her most enduring novels, “The Left Hand of Darkness.”"


Under the first copyright law in the U.S. a book would have a copyright of 14 years with a renewal of 14 years. The Left Hand of Darkness was written in 1969. A 28 year copyright would have run out in 1997.

Only point being that things have not always been the way they are now.

Creative Commons has information on the Founders' Copyright

Article has this line: Book sales are down significantly, and publishers say it is difficult to determine whether electronic piracy is denting sales.

They have anything to back this up?

The Association of American Publishers reported that book sales for the month of January 2009 increased by 3.6 percent to $785 million over January 2008.

Ok we are up from 08 but maybe 08 was a down year. But maybe not: Report: Book Sales Up 7 Percent in Early '08

I'm not sure whether it was AAP or BISG (which includes lots of smaller publishers and reports much bigger numbers), but one report I saw said that 2008 book sales were down a whopping 0.2% (that is, one-fifth of one percent) from 2007.

Here's a variation of a comment I make which invariably gets me flamed in game forums.

One of the overlooked aspects of piracy is that it's a form of preservation. I have played many video games which I could not legally purchase (as they are out of print) thanks to sites which hosted illegal copies. I can extend this to movies, television shows, and even books.

In many cases, piracy laws do nothing to protect an author's rights or keep money in their pockets. Piracy laws do support second-hand sales which benefit the author in no way -- even when the vendor has significantly marked up the price.

My favorite example of this is that Bradbury and a game company (Trillium I think) did a text-adventure sequel to Fahrenheit 451. Reading classic literature actually helps you navigate the game somewhat. Think about the potential teaching value! Think of the archival need for this if someone was trying to create a complete Bradbury collection! And now if you want to know the ultimate fate of Guy Montag you now have to go trolling around in dark corners of the internet and download Commodore emulators from some guy in Sweden. (Hell, if anyone can get me Math Shop for that old C64 I'd be eternally grateful. It would be even better if it's above board.)

In a way though, isn't it nice some pirates give a damn enough about the material to preserve it and even risk their necks a little for it? I know that goes so against Article 2 of the ALA Code of Ethics and the law of the land, but it also feels wrong to risk losing materials to time, ignorance, and neglect.

I remember playing it on my Atari ST computer...

out of every word they've ever written... while I'd be happy to milk the first dime...

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