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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 12 November 2017 at 4:17am | IP Logged | 1 post reply

Worth a read:


Call me old-fashioned, but I believe in PAYING for something. And ensuring that a creator gets something, even if it's only a few pennies now and again (I appreciate royalties may not always be great for creators). 

Perfect:


 QUOTE:
This is a bit like stealing an expensive bottle of champagne, and saying to the arresting officer: ďObviously, if Iíd been paying for this, I would have chosen a cheaper brand.Ē Theft isnít the same as getting stuff free.

I've heard that excuse so many times. Someone I know of hasn't paid for a film in at least ten years, but he says, "Oh well, I wasn't planning to visit the cinema, anyway."


 QUOTE:
Yes, but digital books cost too much. If they were cheaper, more people would buy them legitimately.

There are lots of things I'd like to buy in life. I'd love an Apple Mac. Can't currently afford one. Wouldn't steal one, though.

If we all used that 'logic', we could steal cars, bottles of wine and digital devices - and then say, "But it cost too much!"


 QUOTE:
Wrong. Most authors donít earn enough to make a proper living. Many have to take secondary jobs just to make ends meet. Sure, some authors make a lot of money, but they are the exceptions. Most just canít afford to lose the thousands of sales that are being lost right now through e-book theft.

I don't know any famous authors personally, but I know some who aren't famous - and who have released eBooks via, say, Amazon. From what I've read on social media, and in discussions with them, it's not a full-time gig. They are not buying mansions. Maybe one day they will (good luck to them). But I've heard from people who've told me they've earned pennies or a few quid on their eBook sales.

So if people are downloading for free, it takes money from their hard work.


 QUOTE:
But I want to make sure I like a book before I buy it. I download books onto my e-reader, and if I like them, then I buy them legitimately. If not, I delete the book and move on. Why buy something you might not enjoy? Irrelevant. You donít steal a bar of chocolate, taste it and then go back and pay for it afterwards. Every purchase is a risk. Take the risk, or do without. Or borrow the book from a library.

That's another one I've heard numerous times.

Every purchase is a risk. I've seen some films which turned out to be awful. But I never tried to get a refund from the cinema.

I bought some green cola a while back from Ocado. It was awful. So awful that I gave the remaining cans to someone else. But every purchase is a risk. I won't buy it again. But I tried it. 

Imagine if everyone took every product back because they didn't like it. It'd cost businesses loads (and I am not, of course, referring to returning faulty products, that is right).


 QUOTE:
Wrong. Like authors, a lot of musicians struggle to survive. But bands make money through touring and merchandising. Authors canít do that.

Very true.

There is a sense of entitlement from some. I have lost track of the times I have typed a book title into Google (or magazine title) and the search results pertain to wanting a free copy.

Type in the name/issue number of a comic (e.g. ACTION COMICS #900) and you'll see results pertaining to "free downloads". Same with films. Or books. Or CDs. It seems no-one wants to pay for anything.

A friend of mine (social media friend) has released two eBooks. She has told me it is not a full-time income. I typed her book titles - and, yes, there were search results pertaining to free copies.

I typed in the name of a magazine. Same thing.

Why don't people want to pay? If EVERYONE did that, with EVERY product, soon writers, musicians and so many others would not have an income.

On a final note, the one thing I do hear from some is authors/musicians/actors are overpaid and won't miss a lost sale. Assuming that is always true (it isn't), it's still not ethical. And imagine if we apply that to other things. 

"Oh, that car salesman has won countless awards and I hear his car lot makes huge profits. He is very successful. Oh well, he's earning a lot, he won't miss it if I break in and steal just ONE car."
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Mario Ribeiro
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Posted: 12 November 2017 at 7:02am | IP Logged | 2 post reply

Also, preservation. A movie (or a comic book) is restored and presented beautifully when there's money to be made from it. Then you try some public domain print, and it's painful and looks cheap. Compare The Maltese Falcon or The Treasure of Sierra Madre (two John Huston movies with Humphrey Bogart) with most discs of Beat the Devil (another Huston-Bogart collaboration). The first two are WB products, the other is in public domain and usually looks 20 years older and low budget.

In Brazil, right now, there are quite a few classics that are long out of print. There's no money to be made out of them. Our loss.
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Bill Collins
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Posted: 12 November 2017 at 7:16am | IP Logged | 3 post reply

One of my old school friends has released a few
books,a couple of children`s books and a couple of
humorous autobiographical ones,they have sold well,but
not well enough for him to have to give up work.
But Piracy is a big problem in most media.Look at
music,in the 80`s i could buy an LP for about £3 and
see the band live for around the same cost.Now due to
piracy the cd is about £7 but the live ticket can be
anything from £20 to £100 plus depending on the
venue,all because the bands only make a living through
touring not record sales,unless they`re in the big
leagues.Personally,i want to own the physical copy be
it,DVD,Bluray,CD etc.I do get digital comics now and
again but i pay for them through legitimate sites.
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John Byrne
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Posted: 12 November 2017 at 9:57am | IP Logged | 4 post reply

Now let's talk about libraries. . .
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Michael Murphy
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Posted: 12 November 2017 at 6:27pm | IP Logged | 5 post reply

Yes, people do have some poor excuses to justify piracy but I think the issue is a bit more nuanced than the reasons people give. Entertainment cost versus income may drive people towards piracy (I am not says that makes it right, just offering a viewpoint). I graduated high school in 1986 and I knew many people who used an over-the-air antenna only (free TV after equipment costs) and others who had cable that was relatively cheap. The cost of cable has gone up, OTA usage has likely decreased and wages have been stagnant so we are paying more for our entertainment (I don't buy the argument that we are getting more for our money, how many people watch more than a handful of the hundreds of stations they pay for?). Deregulation, corporate greed and and unwillingness to change business models to adapt to changing times have made today's cost situation what it is. Many people feel they are being priced gouged for entertainment that has become a part of daily American life and so some turn to piracy and feel no guilt at screwing over a large corporation. I use TV as an example but I would imagine things are not much different in other industries.

Please keep in mind, I am not advocating piracy. I am not saying people are right (or wrong) for getting stuff free rather than paying. I do realize that many creators may get unfairly screwed by this behavior but I doubt it is as bad as some claim; not every pirated TV show, movie, book or comic translates intro a lost sale, and in fact the opposite might be true.

When I was a kid, myself and my friends would record songs from the radio to make mixed tapes. Now kids might torrent MP3s. We would record movies on the VCR from TV or, if you had a dual-cassstte VCR, from a rented copy of the movie. Now people stream for free from shady websites. Are all equally wrong? Where was the outrage in the 1990's and earlier for those practices? What has changed?


Edited by Michael Murphy on 12 November 2017 at 6:28pm
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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 13 November 2017 at 3:08am | IP Logged | 6 post reply

What really irks me is the entitlement mentality.

Someone released a wrestling eBook years ago. I doubt he was rich. I doubt you'd have even heard of him or the book. But when he did, a wrestling forum I was on, well some of the topics were "Where can I get a free download?" or "Is there a file-sharing site for eBooks?".

This wasn't a wealthy individual with a giant publisher backing him. This was a person who'd researched and written an eBook. I doubt it'd have ever made him rich, but perhaps, over time, he'd have made a few hundred £££s or more from it. Not instantly, but perhaps over a period of years.

But, as long as people will seek out free stuff, it doesn't matter.

I subscribe to a sci-fi magazine called STARBURST (paper copy). I like it. I enjoy the direction and insight. But, again, on social media a few years ago, a guy sent me a message claiming he could send me free PDFs of each issue. I wasn't interested. That does NOT make me a saint. But as someone who derives a LOT of enjoyment from that particular magazine, I want it to thrive, survive, etc. I want the people producing it to be paid. 
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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 13 November 2017 at 3:10am | IP Logged | 7 post reply

I also recall something years ago (may have been BATTLESTAR GALACTICA, but don't quote me on that). A producer had talked about ratings, I think ratings may have dipped and there was something on the internet about how certain episodes had been the most illegally downloaded in history.

Like I said, it could have been another show, but I remember the producer saying something like, "We need eyeballs on the TV, we need ratings to be a success." 
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Bill Collins
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Posted: 13 November 2017 at 5:22am | IP Logged | 8 post reply

I occasionally read Starburst,but i get the digital
version and it`s cost is quite cheap,so i wouldn`t
dream of trying to get it for nothing.Far too many
people want something for nothing nowadays!
Here`s another example...Marks & Spencer`s `Dine For
Two For £10` is a regular offer where you get a
main,side,dessert and a `free` bottle of wine from a
selected range for £10.The wine is a selection of
various types of red,white and rose`.Last week i
overheard an old biddy saying she didn`t like any of
the wines in the offer and could she choose a
different wine from the wine aisle.The manager
politely explained that the wine in the offer was
`free` and she was welcome to choose one of the non
alcoholic alternatives such as juice or fruit presse,
or give the wine as a Christmas gift.I doubt she`d
tried EVERY wine in the offer,but was just trying to
get a more expensive wine for nothing!
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Eric Sofer
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Posted: 13 November 2017 at 9:26am | IP Logged | 9 post reply

This seems excessively widespread... but how did it start? WHO was taught that it was all right to steal? Yes, there are a handful of delinquents who steal anyhow. But that had to be a small percentage.

When I was growing up, I didn't NEED to be told very strongly or frequently that stealing is wrong. It seemed pretty obvious, and I knew that if you got caught stealing, you had to answer for a crime... which could well mean jail time.

When did SO MANY PEOPLE start realizing that taking something that belongs to someone else, or taking something and not paying for it was acceptable? Were our morals so weak that when an opportunity arose for this that people indulged happily? Is this part of the beginning of the collapse of our society?

And no, when I was a lot younger, I downloaded free music. And I grew up and understood that it ain't right. Could I be so very different? (Well, in that aspect anyhow.)
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marios ksidonas
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Posted: 13 November 2017 at 4:40pm | IP Logged | 10 post reply

Robbie.....you are right about piracy and stealing but your examples are a little off topic , no offense!You are comparing the piracy in comics with stealing an apple computer.Totally irrelevant those two and let me explain.The big issue in comics pirate is THE WAY .
There is a greek saying that says you cant keep your finger away from a pot of honey!
If you want to steal a mac you have to go on a store and commit a thievery.To get a pirate comic you just press a key from your house without  getting out of it , without someone seeing you and all that stuff.You know what i mean?THE WAY is different!I am not saying is right but is in the human nature to acquire something for free if he can!
And the excuse about money and the value of the comics and if they deserve that money is a lame way to a simple fact.You pirate your comic so you can spent the money somewhere else (you cant avoid to save!).
The same applies to music and movies!You can listen everything and you can see anything.The lame excuse they say,  thanks god i didnt pay for that movie in reality it sums up to: its unreal to like every song you will listen and every movie you will see!And about the risk?Of course there is but the old days you would spend some time to make a research before you buy.Now pressing a key and you have everything whether you like it or not!
And another thing....humant vanity.The  opportunity to have in your position something that under regular sircumstances you would never get in your lifetime, triggers that finger to acquire the 66 giga file complete batman run!And with no effort!Can i ever have action comics no1?Nope so hit the button!!!Can i ever have that special cover of that title?Nope!Hit the button!!!!And so on and on.And of course it is not right but the easiness is what drives those people to do this.THE WAY.....
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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 13 November 2017 at 7:21pm | IP Logged | 11 post reply

And the excuse about money and the value of the comics and if they deserve that money is a lame way to a simple fact.You pirate your comic so you can spent the money somewhere else (you cant avoid to save!).

***

It's not lame. 

Almost everyone has a limited income. Do I wish I could buy every comic, magazine and book that catches my eye? Yes, I do. But I can't. So I make a judgement based on my limited disposable income.
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marios ksidonas
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Posted: 14 November 2017 at 1:37am | IP Logged | 12 post reply

@Robbie,
Of course  we all have a limited income but you spend a fair amount in buying comics .When something (illegal digital distribution) gives you another path...piracy happens.
The old days if you wanted a comic book you would actually buy it (or you would do the mac example!).No other way!But the company/artist etc etc would get paid.
When scanners and digital comics emerged that changed that!
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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 14 November 2017 at 5:47am | IP Logged | 13 post reply

Of course  we all have a limited income but you spend a fair amount in buying comics .

***

I can't afford to go to a comic con this weekend (been to two this year). But I wouldn't think of myself as entitled, I wouldn't break in via a fire door and walk around for free.

Billionaires aside, who can afford everything? I'd love some JUDGE DREDD newspaper strips right now, but they are £35+ (if anyone wants to buy them for me for Xmas, please do). I can't afford them. I will wait until I can. 

It's not just about writers/artist. Publishers also employ ancillary staff. And within the publishing, there are editors and agents. Lots of people to be paid.
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Dave Phelps
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Posted: 14 November 2017 at 6:06am | IP Logged | 14 post reply

 Eric Sofer wrote:
When did SO MANY PEOPLE start realizing that taking something that belongs to someone else, or taking something and not paying for it was acceptable?


The nuance here is the lack of a physical artifact. It just doesn't "feel like" stealing if you're not in a store sliding something into your coat when no one's watching. (Not condoning, just attempting to explain.)
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Peter Martin
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Posted: 14 November 2017 at 6:32am | IP Logged | 15 post reply

Can i ever have action comics no1?Nope so hit the button!!!
-------------------------------------------------------
Everyone can afford a reprint, so don't hit the button -- it's stealing.

Physically stealing an Apple Mac from a store is daunting, but buying one on the cheap that you know is stolen would not be as daunting -- and I would like to think most people would still not do this. Because it is wrong.

Pirating comics, music and movies is wrong, no matter how easy. Someone took the effort to put hours and hours and hours of their lives into creating those comics, songs and movies. Money drives the industries that produce these things we enjoy. You bleed out the money by piracy, you genuinely reduce future creation and you are taking money out of the pockets of the creators.

Try and think from the other point of view -- if you had created a piece of entertainment and it was clear it had value and people would pay to read or listen to what you had created, it would be a real kick in the teeth to find people were just taking it for nothing because they felt it was easy to do so.
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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 14 November 2017 at 6:58am | IP Logged | 16 post reply

Try and think from the other point of view -- if you had created a piece of entertainment and it was clear it had value and people would pay to read or listen to what you had created, it would be a real kick in the teeth to find people were just taking it for nothing because they felt it was easy to do so.

***

That's true.

The old, tired argument I read is "But Dan Brown and Stephen King are rich." Putting that aside (which doesn't make it right), I'd like to think the publishers will always be able to pay the mailroom clerk and secretary, too.

I haven't got a creative bone in my body, but I'd hate to write and draw a strip, market it, perhaps even spend money to get it out there - and see it shared everywhere.

EDIT: I'm not a saint. I stole some grapes when I was about 9. An ill-judged moment with some school friends. Shouldn't have done it. Wish I could go back and change that. But downloading comics, films and TV shows - no!


Edited by Robbie Parry on 14 November 2017 at 6:59am
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John Byrne
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Posted: 14 November 2017 at 9:12am | IP Logged | 17 post reply

When did SO MANY PEOPLE start realizing that taking something that belongs to someone else, or taking something and not paying for it was acceptable?

ēē

Again, libraries.

We are raised to think of libraries as somehow noble, allowing as they do the reading of books by people who could not afford to buy them. Sounds good, in principle, but books borrowed from a libraries are books for which the author receives no payment.

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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 14 November 2017 at 9:27am | IP Logged | 18 post reply

That's a shame. I had always hoped libraries might give at least pennies, or a few quid, to writers when their books are borrowed.
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David Miller
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Posted: 14 November 2017 at 11:26am | IP Logged | 19 post reply

Libraries purchase a copy of every book or other piece of media they lend out, for which authors receives royalties, or at least the publisher receives payment. When a copy wears out (after 20-30 lends), it is replaced by another purchased copy (demand demanding). If libraries disappeared, book sales wouldn't increase by 20 or 30 times as poor people gobbled up the books they previously had for free; they would decrease by 25%. The sales cutting out libraries would generate is insignificant compared to the dollars that would be lost.

Libraries also re-purchase electronic items after a limited number of lends, which I think is an enlightened way to approach that modern technology.

Publishers LOVE libraries. Libraries are reliable customers for bulk purchases, keep interest in physical media alive, and promote authors to a mass audience. Smaller presses would disappear without library sales, and library sales make it possible for some authors to earn a living.

Libraries make publishing possible, now more than ever, as the saying goes. 

Contrast to piracy, in which no copy is purchased, and nobody is paid by the torrent sites.
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John Byrne
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Posted: 14 November 2017 at 12:12pm | IP Logged | 20 post reply

If libraries replace books after 20 or 30 lends -- which seems generous based on most libraries I've seen -- that represents 20 or thirty times a book is read without being purchased. 20 or 30 times the author receives no payment. And, as you note, this is a repeating cycle.
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David Miller
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Posted: 14 November 2017 at 12:34pm | IP Logged | 21 post reply

Have you ever had a conversation with your publishers about the possibility of cutting off library sales? 
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David Miller
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Posted: 14 November 2017 at 1:10pm | IP Logged | 22 post reply

For easy math's sake, let's say if a book sells 4,000 copies, roughly 1,000 are sold to libraries. If 1% of 30 lifetime borrowings for each copy represented lost real sales, cutting off libraries would ultimately translate to sales around 3,300, a decrease of 17.5%.

It would require 3.5% of people who'd otherwise borrow from a library buying their own copy (and not from a used bookstore, or a remaindered copy) to make up for the lost sales to libraries. If I were still in publishing, I'd still prefer the bulk sales up front. For that matter, if I were still in publishing, library sales would keep me in publishing.

We can debate how many borrowers would have otherwise bought their own copy on Earth 3 where Ultraman has banned libraries, although I think if anything 1% is generous given the rate of sales conversion we see from piracy, which I believe rounds up to zero, and doesn't even pay for that initial copy before distributing royalty free to tens of thousands of consumers.

Incidentally, according to the American Library Association, library users purchase an average of 3.2 books per month on top of their borrowing habits.
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John Byrne
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Posted: 14 November 2017 at 2:40pm | IP Logged | 23 post reply

How much of your income is based on intellectual property?
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James Woodcock
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Posted: 14 November 2017 at 3:01pm | IP Logged | 24 post reply

Well, JB, at least this wonít be a problem in the UK for much longer the way things are going. Many councils are closing the libraries here. Although personally I think the decision is a disaster.

Libraries allow people to try read books that they may not otherwise try, which can then be a potential source of future customers for the author. Although, having said that, I can see how they can be a problem to authors.
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David Miller
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Posted: 14 November 2017 at 3:57pm | IP Logged | 25 post reply


 QUOTE:
How much of your income is based on intellectual property?


Last month: $1.02. And I was thrilled to get it.

I suppose that means I am completely wrong about libraries, which is something I can live with.
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