Monday, June 07, 2004

Book Piracy

apparently, it's quite easy to download pirated copies of most best-sellers from the internet.

i'm ambivalent about this practice, the same way i'm ambivalent about downloading music. people deserve to be paid for their work. nevertheless, as i have said before in previous posts, you cannot stop the march of technology. i don't think that technology necessarily has to spell the end of pay for intellectual property. the most popular bloggers are able to command hundreds of dollars in advertising revenue through BlogAds, so perhaps imbedded advertisements in electronic books could be means for publishers to earn money.

i think this business model is almost inevitable given the ease with which a popular book can spread across the file-sharing networks. yes, it is more difficult to digitize a book than it is to rip a CD, but it only takes one person who is willing to make the effort. once it is done, the book is available to millions of other people on kazaa and other file-sharing networks.

i wish i had a link, but there was an attempt to analyze the origins of mp3 files. i think the conclusion was that most of the popular songs being traded on kazaa orignated from a small number of original CD rips. this phenomenon is even clearer if one makes a cusory examination of pirated movies. when i downloaded all the episodes of twin peaks last spring, almost all of the video files were rips of a swedish television broadcast of the series. i think the only episode that didn't have the swedish subtitles was the pilot.

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