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Piracy

Why own media when you can rent the library?
April 30, 2015 | 2:51 pm

eatIs ownership of media passé? Over the last few years, I’ve noticed an interesting trend develop. It started with music, as “all-you-can-eat” services like Pandora and Spotify popped up to offer users a chance to listen to as much music as they wanted either free with advertising, or for a small monthly fee. Amazon, Google, and Apple soon followed suit. Then came video, as the holy trinity of Netflix, Hulu, and (again) Amazon launched streaming video services for television and movies. Next, it moved into e-books, with Oyster, Scribd, and, yes, Amazon launching services. (Amazon doesn’t seem...

Do You Know How to Pirate?
March 31, 2015 | 2:25 pm

pirateTechdirt's latest on the whole cord-cutting thing was a good one. They make an interesting point, which is this: piracy exists. That might not seem like such a revolutionary statement---surely we all know that?---but their point is is: One gets the sense that media outlets feel like if they so much as even acknowledge that piracy is a real thing -- they'll somehow be taken as advocates for piracy. It's as if piracy is some kind of angry and strange Lovecraftian god, and even mentioning its name will invite unspeakable terror upon the local village. Hear, hear. I have a question for...

Why we need an e-book DRM DMCA exemption
October 30, 2014 | 8:54 pm

It’s that time again. Ars Technica reports that the Copyright Office is accepting petitions on activities to exempt from the DMCA’s anti-circumvention provisions, making it legal to crack DRM for certain restricted purposes. We’ve reported on this procedure a few times over the last few years. The way it goes is that various people or organizations make proposals and the copyright office considers whether to grant them for the next three years. The exemptions then have to be requested again at the next session if they are to continue. Public Knowledge will be submitting requests to legalize...

Digital piracy now about access more than cost, says New York Times
October 5, 2014 | 10:44 pm

The New York Times has an interesting piece about Hana Beshara, who ran pirate web site and chat community NinjaVideo from 2008 to 2010 until she was arrested and served 16 months in prison. Beshara still doesn’t believe she did anything wrong. Her position isn’t exactly helped by the fact that the site made about $500,000, of which she kept nearly half, but Beshara said for her it was more about being part of the online community than about the money. The story takes a reasonably balanced look at Internet piracy these days, mainly in terms of...

Photographer explains why piracy is driving him out of business
September 24, 2014 | 10:37 pm

We hear about Internet piracy and its deleterious effect on creators dozens or hundreds of times every year. In most cases, it’s about music, movies, games, or books that are circulating on peer-to-peer. The arguments rage on and on about whether this piracy is a good thing or a bad thing, whether it provides much-needed exposure to the artist and whether any, many, most, or all of the people who pirate the work would actually have paid for it under other circumstances. Odds are, most regular readers of TeleRead or any other media blog can recite most of the arguments...

Is Chris Ruen’s utter bollocks argument utter bollocks?
August 6, 2014 | 10:25 am

Chris Ruen has a book to promote. That promotion is best done through rabble-rousing headlines and inflammatory articles. And since that book is Freeloading: How our insatiable appetite for free content is starving creativity, naturally it's going to be about the deadly dangers of piracy. And the New Statesman has kindly given him a platform, under the banner headline "Fifteen years of utter bollocks': how a generation’s freeloading has starved creativity." The article starts off on slightly dodgy grounds anyway, because how many people are actually out there making arguments for digital piracy as the lead-in claims? Some of the more...

A need for piracy?
July 13, 2014 | 11:39 am

piracyGerman expatriate film director (and former World Karate and Kickboxing Champion) Lexi Alexander has posted a very interesting - and already much commented-on - entry on her blog, entitled "Will the Real Pirates Please Stand Up?" As well as a selfie calling on Sweden to "Free Peter Sunde Now," she posts a detailed, passionate, and well-argued statement of the realities of piracy, which while falling well short of a blanket endorsement, makes plenty of room for its positive aspects. And while this is more about Hollywood and films than the Big Five and ebooks, the comparisons should be obvious. Alexander juxtaposes piracy...

Worried about ebook theft? Here’s the whole story – in pictures
July 3, 2014 | 2:25 pm

whos-stealing-ebooksThe issue of ebook piracy, whether a serious concern or just an obsession with media owners, simply won't go away. And web hosting blog Who Is Hosting This? has just released a handy infographic on the subject, commissioned from UK design studio NeoMam Studios, that lays it all out for you in black and white – plus blue and a little pink. Naturally, there's considerable argument about the actual data and information on this topic. For instance, the $8.19 billion forecast in the infographic for projected revenue from U.S. ebook sales by 2017 hardly looks significantly impacted by the paltry $10...

What to pay for e-books: a formula
June 5, 2014 | 3:23 pm

I’ve seen people make estimates of what they thought was the right amount to pay for an e-book, but I can’t say I’ve seen one actually put it into an equation before. But Ramzi Amri, an MD/PhD candidate in Surgical Oncology, has. He wrote up an answer on Quora including the following mathematical formula for determining how much he was willing to pay for an e-book: If an ebook has a price, in dollars, below the value of Beta, I'd consider buying it. t= time (in minutes) it would...

Enjoying OverDrive e-books from the Indianapolis Public Library
May 18, 2014 | 2:12 pm

PANO_20140422_152236One of the great things about being in Indianapolis is having the Indianapolis Public Library’s main branch just a few blocks away. It’s a gorgeous place, with plenty of books and excellent facilities. One of those facilities I like the most is an extensive OverDrive e-book collection. The library back in Springfield only had a few thousand titles, and not many I actually wanted. But the Indianapolis library has almost 35,000 fiction titles alone, including all three Hugo nominees Orbit decided not to provide to the Hugo voter packet. This morning I’ve been checking out and downloading a number...

Dropbox uses file hashes to comply with DMCA requests. So what?
April 2, 2014 | 2:50 am

Surprise! Dropbox has anti-piracy measures in place. You’ve probably seen the stories by now. When you right-click that file on your drive and ask for a public link that you can share so your friend can download it, Dropbox runs a hash on the file—it basically takes the file’s fingerprint by assigning a specific character to particular bits. If it finds that hash matches a list of hashes that have been declared verboten by DMCA request, it tells you that you can’t share it. (Likewise, it hashes files so that it can save space by only storing one copy of...

Interesting article on how piracy is devaluing digital goods
March 10, 2014 | 11:15 am

piracy is devaluing digital goodsAlthough it's an older post, it only came across my feed recently, and I thought Baekdal had some interesting points worth sharing. He says the real problem with piracy is the devaluation of digital goods. Here's how he presents this: Imagine that you have $200 left to spend, and you want to buy a new pair of shoes, a new iPad bag (because you feel your old one is looking a bit out-of-date), a couple of books, a movie, an XBOX game, a magazine subscription, and Will.I.am's latest album. Clearly, you can't do that because the total sum is more than the $200 you have....