6

Techdirt has a couple of pieces about digital piracy today.

First, a Dutch court has ruled that it is actually advantageous to right-holders (at least in the Netherlands) that unauthorized download sites exist, because the downloads from those sites help to pump up the amount of the Dutch private copying levy.

The Court of Appeal stated that the private copying exemption in the Dutch Copyright Act does not differentiate between copies made from legal or illegal sources. With reference to statements made by the Minister of Justice, the Court argued that the legitimate interest of the right holders is more adequately protected in a regime that allows downloading from illegal sources. In view of the Dutch government’s statements, such a levy system better ensures that compensation is due to right holders for the use of their work.

Of course, we don’t have a private copying levy here, but it’s still interesting to see a court state that illicit downloading sites can “more adequately protect” the interest of the rights holders in any circumstance.

And second is an opinion post by Tim Geigner responding to Colleen Doran’s blog post that we covered a few days ago. He responds to her assertions point by point, suggesting that perhaps the failure to engage fans might be on her end.

Oh, and that last part, about there being no connection between fans and creators? That’s YOUR job, not the fans’. You have to make that connection. We’re not mindless moths, fluttering about the heat of your light, desperate to slam our bodies against the fixture. You connect with us, since you’re doing the selling, not the other way around….

He compares Colleen’s case to that of Steve Lieber, who managed to pump up sales of one of his graphic novels considerably by going to the site where it had been pirated and talking with the fans there.

It’s hard to blame authors for being touchy about illegal sharing of their works, but digital piracy is in all probability going to be with us forever. It’s a fact of life of the new digital economy, and will never go away no matter how loudly people complain about it. If you do somehow manage to kill one site, two more will spring up to take its place—probably overseas, where you can’t get at them. It’s a shame, but it just seems to be the way things are going to work from here on out. It would be a lot more constructive if authors would get over being aggravated by it and get down to figuring out how to deal with it.

 
6