books on the radio


Digital Piracy vs the Left Hand of Darkness

TheLeftHandOfDarkness1stEd Pirates are upon us!  They’re assailing us with their dastardly ways, their electronic disseminations, their digital altruisms.  Quickly, assemble the attorneys and dispatch them to litigate the readership!

That quivering lip is corporate book publishing wondering what to do next about file sharing, bit torrents and the stealthy denizens of the Pirate Bay.

Digital book piracy has made it to the pages of the New York Times and it seems that the hand wringing is about to begin in earnest about how to deal with digital books leaked to the web.

Kassia Kroszer lends her sensibility to the argument with this post on the issue at her Booksquare blog.  She notes while Ursula Le Guin and her publisher are dismayed to find digital versions of her book the Left Hand of Darkness on file sharing sites that it may actually indicate that there’s an unserved market for her work in this format and not an opportunity for panic.

Cory Doctorow closes the NYT article by saying, “I really feel like my problem isn’t piracy,” Mr. Doctorow said. “It’s obscurity.”

The waters are churning.

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4 Comments so far
Leave a comment

where do you see this going?

Comment by readinwritin

Good question. I am not a prognosticator but I would say that it needs to go as near 100% DRM free as it can. That doesn’t mean that there’s no place for paid digital content but it does mean that the publishers would be wise to relinquish control and use digital content to augment and support the physical product. The publisher’s job is to make the content easily accessible. Litigation is out of the question.

My recommendation is drop the issue of DRM and make all content available and make better, more appealing books.

Comment by Sean

But how can we even detect the pirates? I can’t even fire upon them before they board me. Then, before you know it, I’ve been pirated by Somalis.

That’s the way it works, right? I’m a bit fuzzy.

Comment by Corey Redekop

Nothing wrong with Somalis. My taylor is from east Africa and has a map of the Gulf of Aden on the wall above his old school sewing machine.

That said, carpenters didn’t go to war with the hammer when it first arrived on the scene… or did they?

Comment by Sean




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