Chris McKitterick (mckitterick) wrote,
Chris McKitterick

Copyright, pirating, e-lending... the discussion continues.

When my novel, Transcendence,came out a little over a year ago and was immediately pirated, I went through a little crisis. I ended up fighting the pirates by giving it away, myself, because I figured if people were going to take it for free, they could at least get it from my website and thereby get to know me a bit more than they could via some random torrent site. Also, I was following Cory Doctorow's theory that giving away your creative work leads to more sales - and at the very least, more readership, who'll be looking for your next book.

How did it go? Well, it's been downloaded at least 3500 times (no way to know how many downloaded from direct link to the .pdf or .epub versions), I got a few dozen PayPal donations, including one just this week. And I certainly got some publicity out of it, especially for a first-time author whose book came out in November from a small press - two huge strikes against it.

Will it help with my next book? We'll see!

In the mean time, ebooks have only become more popular, piracy has not abated, and the debate about copyright and ebooks has only heated up. Here are two videos that represent two facets of the debate.

First up, "Copying Is Not Theft," by Questioncopyright:

Um, yeah. Good luck copying that bicycle, dude. Maybe once we all have nanofactories, but now? Not convinced.

Next up is Stephan Kinsella Houston's Public Affairs Public Access Live program, talking about intellectual property. When he first mentions "business models," I want to punch his smug face.

He has some interesting (and wrong, in my opinion) ideas; unfortunately, most creatives are not businesspeople, or else they'd be in business. They're also often introverts, which makes his ideas impractical for most writers and artists and so on.

Finally, to clear the palate, we have Neil Gaiman providing wisdom on copyright and piracy:

I find tend to agree with Gaiman; well, you kinda have to, because part of his talk is about his personal experiences and how giving it away has helped spur his career. Gaiman isn't talking about eliminating copyright; instead, he discusses how giving away his books has helped grow the audience (and market) for his copyrighted, printed work.

At least, I hope that's how it works!

Especially convincing is the idea that almost everyone found our favorite authors by having a book lent to us from a friend or the library. Does that = getting a free, pirated ebook?

Your thoughts on where copyright and the publishing industry is headed?

Tags: books, transcendence, writing

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