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E-book publishers face piracy panic

By enterfornone in MLP
Tue Jan 02, 2001 at 12:19:34 PM EST
Tags: Books (all tags)

CNN has an interesting feature on the dead tree publishing industry's reaction to peer-to-peer file-sharing and emerging "Digital Rights Management" companies who are rushing to offer publishers security and copy prevention services.

Traditional publishers have an advantage over media such as music and film in that their product is generally distributed in a form that can't be easily digitised. Unlike CD and DVD manufacturers who were forced to deal with piracy by the ease at which their products can be converted to MP3 and DivX ;-), traditional publishers have the luxury of being able to sit back and wait until technology comes up with a solution to the problems they foresee.

It will be interesting to see what direction, if any, they take in regards to publishing on-line.


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E-book publishers face piracy panic | 10 comments (10 topical, editorial, 0 hidden)
E-Books Sme-Books (3.50 / 8) (#1)
by espo812 on Mon Jan 01, 2001 at 04:14:45 PM EST

I can't picture myself reading, much less buying, an e-book. Even with online documentation I tend to print it out if possible and read it on paper. For being such a nerd, I really can't stand reading things on monitors.

Censorship is un-American.
Reading Stuff on the Computer (4.00 / 1) (#4)
by dave114 on Mon Jan 01, 2001 at 05:19:57 PM EST

I agree.

I don't mind using an electronic manual for quick reference or the like and I do an awful lot of web surfing. Still for any in depth reading I'll always end up reaching for some sort of dead tree version.

[ Parent ]
-1 Is there a point to this? (1.28 / 7) (#2)
by farl on Mon Jan 01, 2001 at 04:31:02 PM EST

Are you trying to make a point here? Create a discussion? Or merely state the obvious?

Sorry, but -1 becuase you dont actually make a point here, even though this is MLP, it should still have some sort of conclusion or question raised by the author of the post.

Why I rated your comment down (3.50 / 6) (#3)
by simmons75 on Mon Jan 01, 2001 at 04:34:18 PM EST

Your comment was an editorial comment, yet you posted it as a topical comment.

If it's not thoroughly covered in the FAQ yet, this would be a good thing to flesh out.
So there.

[ Parent ]
Disagree (none / 0) (#8)
by slaytanic killer on Tue Jan 02, 2001 at 06:03:28 AM EST

The necessity of a point shouldn't kill interesting information.

[ Parent ]
Ummm... ooookay? (4.58 / 12) (#5)
by Signal 11 on Mon Jan 01, 2001 at 08:30:41 PM EST

A word, and an acronym for you:

Scanner. OCR.

It's easy to digitize them. The reason people don't is because it is priced competitively with what it is worth, hence there is no large incentive to "pirate". CDs and DVDs are not worth $20-$80 apiece. They are worth about $3 and $8, IMO. Answering why books aren't being "pirated" cuts to the heart of the copy controllers argument.

Books do not have built in mandatory advertisements that you must read. You can freely choose any page you wish to read, or any chapter. Books don't force you to only read them under certain brands of lightbulbs. Books don't have builtin password and copy mechanisms that prevent you from sharing them with a friend, nor do they chop off your fingers or write nasty e-mails to spook@nsa.gov if you try to open them up. Lastly, books don't force you to sit and stare at a big red "FBI Warning" statement for 3 minutes before you can read it, nor do books enforce this every time you want to read them. And if you want to rip a book in two, throw away half of it, burn it, wrinkle the pages, or anything else you can. You can even quote a book - without being thrown in jail for it (wow!).

DVDs have all of these characteristics - mandatory advertisements, copy control mechanisms (DIVX is now dead, but it'll be back, trust me) like macrovision, or the inability to "fast forward" to the sections you want to watch, won't allow still-shots to be taken off the disk, etc. DVDs are consumer-hostile, DVD players, the media, and their manufacturers and supporters all believe that YOU are the enemy.

This might, possibly, theoretically, contribute to consumers not wanting to pay $40. It also isn't worth it - Most people will watch that DVD once, maybe twice. Then it goes on the shelf and only dug out once in a blue moon or when company comes over. CDs are the same way - they bundle songs you don't want to listen to onto them, cost a small fortune, and while they do have superior audio quality almost all consumers do not have a system capable of that level of quality, nor do many have the funds or inclination to purchase a system with that level of quality. Even if they did, consumer electronics for audio is crap - they're made using low quality components, prone to noise / RF interference, and in some cases can catch on fire due to poor design (using reinforced carbon-paper for the "circuit boards") - and these are the $1000+ units!

The personal computer has all of the characteristics of a modern and high quality audio-visual system. It has extremely high visual resolution - 1600x1200, photo-realistic color, combined with state of the art 2D and 3D video cards with little noise problems. The industry is transitioning to LCD panels, assuring a fully digital video system with extremely high quality reproduction.The audio subsystem of most computers is better than can be found in almost all consumer-level audio offerings, capable of rendering CD-quality audio for low-wattage speakers and/or headphones.

This combines to form a system which is cheaper and higher quality than the offerings by the media cartels. In addition, internet access can realize the dream of instant entertainment. With HDD capacity doubling every two years, it is only a matter of time before you can store DVD-quality films by the thousand on your system.

This adds up to a grave near and long-term threat to the RIAA, MPAA, and related media cartels. Their response has been to legislate, legislate, legislate, to cripple the technology and force people back to their legacy distribution network.

Why, as a consumer, should I have to put up with high priced, inferior quality, entertainment? The long and short of it is, I shouldn't.

Society needs therapy. It's having
trouble accepting itself.

not that easy (3.83 / 6) (#6)
by enterfornone on Mon Jan 01, 2001 at 09:00:02 PM EST

Right now my PC at home is ripping a DVD to DivX. It will take about 10 hours, so hopefully it'll be done by the time I get home. My PIII can rip CDs to MP3 in about the time it would take to play one. While it can take a while, all I have to do is insert a disc, click a few things and wait.

I have a scanner, I have OCR software. But I don't have the time to scan every page of a book and go through and edit complete books to fix OCRs errors. Just having the gear to do it doesn't make it easy.

Agreed on the rest, I'm happy to buy books and CDs. The only reason I'm ripping DVDs is so I can FF the damn things.

efn 26/m/syd
Will sponsor new accounts for porn.
[ Parent ]
There IS book piracy (3.88 / 9) (#7)
by zakalwe on Mon Jan 01, 2001 at 10:19:25 PM EST

Answering why books aren't being "pirated" cuts to the heart of the copy controllers argument.
And the fact that books are being pirated cuts to the heart of yours.

Take a look at alt.binaries.e-book, or look over the recent rows is rec.arts.sf.written about books being posted on freenet

There's less book piracy than for music because "ripping" books is much more difficult - OCRing, and checking for errors introduced is slow and time consuming, whereas ripping a CD is trivial and completely automated.

You can argue that CDs and DVDs (and even books) are overpriced, but surely the only reasonable definition for "overpriced" is "not worth the money being asked", in which case the solution is do without them (after all, they're not worth it), not pretend this is some kind of moral justification to take them.

[ Parent ]

Minimal Book Piracy (none / 0) (#10)
by pete stevens on Wed Jan 03, 2001 at 06:57:53 AM EST

Why do people pirate CDs? Because pirating a CD is much easier than purchasing a CD. CDs are expensive and people are not prepared to pay the price of a CD for what they get of the ease of copying a disc from someone else.

I won't pirate books because it's not worth my time or energy.

This is because there is no obligation on me to purchase a book before reading it legally. If I don't have to pay to read a book, there is no incentive to subvert the system by not paying for a copy of the book.

If I don't feel like paying for a book I can go to the library and read it from there instead. I can borrow it off a friend. No laws broken, no money paid.

If I want the convenience of a copy of the book I can keep for as long as I want, I can lend to my friends which is guarunteed not to have any pages missing or coffee stains, I can buy it instead.

If I want to know what a book is like before I buy it, I can go to Waterstones, sit down and read the first 100 pages before deciding. If I don't like it, it goes back on the shelf. I can even buy a coffee whilst I do this.

If you make books cost 20, only readable on authorized players costing 100s, forbid me from lending them or reselling them to my friends, prevent me from reading the book out of order, forbid me to copy quotes and paragraphs out of the books, then I'll start pirating them.

.... the Flat Earth Society announced in 1995 that their membership was global
[ Parent ]
I *want* to pay for electronic books (3.50 / 2) (#9)
by JML on Tue Jan 02, 2001 at 02:37:34 PM EST

After downloading and reading Neale Stephenon's The Big U (because it is out of print and not available at used bookstores etc.) I have come to prefer reading books on my Palm Pilot. I reread Dune before watching the miniseries, and instead of pulling the book off my shelf I downloaded a copy to put on my Palm.

I find that the slightly lower clarity of the palm over a traditional paperback is more than made up for by the reduction in size and addition of a backlight. I am also using an old Palm III, and most of the clarity issues would disappear if I was using a newer Palm with a higher contrast screen. I don't think people will go out and spend $400 on a Palm Vx just to read an $8.95 paperback, but if you have the Palm anyways...

Anyways, my point... I want electronic books. I am willing to pay for them. I would happily pay $5 for a convertible format (such as plain text) book. But, I can't do this. So I am forced to go online and download for free a product that I am willing to pay for. This does not make much business sense.

And if you don't think there is much pirating of books, you haven't looked at alt.binaries.e-books lately. The bandsaw, scanner with duplexing sheet feeder, and an ocr needed to effectively convert a book into an e-text are bit rarer and more expensive than a CD-Rom drive, but it only takes one person to convert a book, and then it is free.

E-book publishers face piracy panic | 10 comments (10 topical, 0 editorial, 0 hidden)
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