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Copyright… a discussion


Ser Scot A Ellison
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49 minutes ago, Conflicting Thought said:

if you dont have the money, you cant read, as simple as that. 

If the text for school or uni are to expensive and cant afford them, well guess what, education is not for you, sorry.

 

Silly to even bring up loaning or gifting a book to friends and relatives.   

Textbook writers DO NOT GET ROYALTIES etc. and don't have copyright. The textbook industry is a whole other kettle of corruption, at least here in the USA, where it is a political war too.   As are all the other non-commercial publishing situations for data bases and all other sorts of research content.  I know because I spend hours many days of the week arguing with them.

It's those aggregators that hold both academic and public libraries at knifepoint, in the demands of payment, etc. This includes both research materials and commercial fiction.

People who can't afford books have the right to be able to get them from libraries.  Except jerkwaddies like Tories and reichlicans don't want that either.

 

Edited by Zorral
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12 hours ago, Zorral said:

Silly to even bring up loaning or gifting a book to friends and relatives.   

Textbook writers DO NOT GET ROYALTIES etc. and don't have copyright. The textbook industry is a whole other kettle of corruption, at least here in the USA, where it is a political war too.   As are all the other non-commercial publishing situations for data bases and all other sorts of research content.  I know because I spend hours many days of the week arguing with them.

It's those aggregators that hold both academic and public libraries at knifepoint, in the demands of payment, etc. This includes both research materials and commercial fiction.

People who can't afford books have the right to be able to get them from libraries.  Except jerkwaddies like Tories and reichlicans don't want that either.

 

They used the sarcasm "/s" in the post you quoted.  

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23 hours ago, Ninefingers said:

I appreciate the attempt to move the goalposts to the existence of laws in society, but you'll have to find someone else. 

Perhaps the copyright issue is confusing because of the ease of making copies. 

If I buy a car, I have the right to use it, lend it, rent it, sell it. What I do not have the right to do is produce additional copies of the car. There are no essays on why this is, or the underlying morality of this arrangement. 

Purchasing a book is the same legal and ethical arrangement. The only difference is that making a copy of a book (particularly an e-book) is easy, so people attempt to obfuscate the very clear situation with appeals to morality and the impact to the IP creator. 

This is probably pedantic but I'm pretty sure there's nothing legally stopping you from building a copy of the car (I could well be wrong depending on where you live but where I am this is totally legal).  

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On 9/5/2022 at 5:02 AM, felice said:

Authors also receive no compensation at all if you buy a used copy or borrow a copy from a friend. Are those immoral activities?

felice -- no, the author was already compensated for the single copy. 

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2 minutes ago, One-Winged Balrog said:

Once again people confuse legality and morality.

/sigh

One-Winged Balrog -- no, not me; I know the difference. Providing financial compensation in exchange for labor is a matter of morality, regardless of legality. If you really want to debate (amicably), refer back to my response to you somewhere on page 2 -- I'm not a boomer.

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4 hours ago, Wade1865 said:

One-Winged Balrog -- no, not me; I know the difference. Providing financial compensation in exchange for labor is a matter of morality, regardless of legality. If you really want to debate (amicably), refer back to my response to you somewhere on page 2 -- I'm not a boomer.

Well, here's an idea to chew on.

The labor of the author was writing the book. The author is not the one who makes new copies, so why should they be compensated for every single one?

(To clarify, I don't agree with this idea, but it is not as easy to refute as you might think).

Edited by One-Winged Balrog
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1 hour ago, One-Winged Balrog said:

 

The labor of the author was writing the book. The author is not the one who makes new copies, so why should they be compensated for every single one?

 

In my preferred yet impossible to administer world, they would not. 

They would get paid once per consumer to license the IP, and then the consumer would pay for the means of delivery of the IP. 

So if I want a HC, paperback, and ebook (For the sake of argument lets say that these cost $30, $15, & $10 respectively) I'd pay $9 to license the IP, $21 for the HC, $6 for the paperback, and $1 for the ebook. 

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22 minutes ago, Ninefingers said:

In my preferred yet impossible to administer world, they would not. 

They would get paid once per consumer to license the IP, and then the consumer would pay for the means of delivery of the IP. 

So if I want a HC, paperback, and ebook (For the sake of argument lets say that these cost $30, $15, & $10 respectively) I'd pay $9 to license the IP, $21 for the HC, $6 for the paperback, and $1 for the ebook. 

This framework will be incompatible with lending a book to a friend. A friend is a different consumer.

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Just now, One-Winged Balrog said:

This framework will be incompatible with lending a book to a friend. A friend is a different consumer.

Correct. The friend should license the IP that they're consuming. They should be sending $9 to the owner of the IP, and $0 to me, as I'm offering the means of delivery for free. 

This is, of course, impossible to administer. 

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1 minute ago, Ninefingers said:

Correct. The friend should license the IP that they're consuming. They should be sending $9 to the owner of the IP, and $0 to me, as I'm offering the means of delivery for free. 

This is, of course, impossible to administer. 

Well, I'm pretty sure than most people in the modern world would disagree with this idea. The majority believes that there is nothing wrong with lending a book to a friend.

And it it quite possible that lending a book to a friend will end up beneficial to the author, because if the friend likes the book, they will be more likely to buy books of that author.

However, if 99% of the population were only reading borrowed books, the author would surely suffer financially, compared to current situation.

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On 9/6/2022 at 10:57 AM, Ninefingers said:

I appreciate the attempt to put words into my mouth. But the burden of proof lies on you.

You're the one asserting there's an issue. Lay out a case. Make an argument. 

Simply repeating that I won't refute your assertions isn't going to work. I'm old as hell. I recognize these internet message board techniques. 

 

On 9/6/2022 at 11:04 AM, One-Winged Balrog said:

OK boomer.

 

I love the internet.

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There are too many arms and legs to this discussion to really do it justice. Ethics and legality are intertwined but also separate, which itself creates ambiguity and potential for talking past one another. It's an interesting discussion but it's probably ill suited to the internet just due to the different competing angles. Now that I've recognized the futility of my contribution, I'd like to make said contribution.

Is it ethical to break the law? Probably not. It can be but that would require the law itself to demand unethical behavior and, for the most part, I think laws tend to work in the opposite direction where they may permit something that is unethical but they don't often require it. With that sad, there are exceptions and certainly the frequency of these exceptions would vary by locale.

Is one always acting ethically if they're following a law? I suppose that you'd have to assess the law itself to determine that. With that said, it's somewhat impractical and I don't think most people live their lives with that degree of scrutiny. As with most things, there's probably a spectrum of behaviors regarding how often people really stop and think through and consciously assess every matter beyond legality. In fact, there's probably a good bit of hubris that feeds into people thinking that something which is unethical will be corrected in the law over time and so individuals may not need to assess it. Regardless, it's commendable to do so even if I think expecting it of others probably feeds into talking past one another. I don't really have a problem with the question but I think that it only adds to the challenge of discussing this issue.

I do think that there is value to a point that was made earlier, which is that people question the difference between sharing a book vs copying a book (especially an ebook) simply because it is easy to do either and I think the example of lending your car to someone versus creating a duplicate of your car does a good job of showing why questioning the difference is a bit silly.

Yes, there is a strong distinction between buying a thing and using that one thing as you see fit vs creating many copies of a thing and allowing them to all be used simultaneously. There has to be a mechanism through which creation of a product is monetized while also giving the creator control over time. At the risk of oversimplifying things, the creator is given the ability to create copies and to monetize their distribution but they only get to do that once per copy and the person who pays for the copy has control of said copy even up to the point of surrendering, whether permanently or temporarily, control of the copy to another.

I think this is fairly reasonable solution. It's not without pitfalls but I don't think it is intrinsically unethical. The real question, to me, isn't a matter of ethics or legality but practicality and reassessing things as times change. I don't know that the reasonable model we have selected is fully accomplishing the end goal at this point (incentivizing creation). Which is something else others have brought up.

That is to say, I don't think it's a matter of whether or not lending a book is ethical because it's entirely a result of a distribution and monetization method that is reasonable, was consciously chosen and has been willingly engaged in. A better question is whether or not that distribution and monetization method is really accomplishing what we want and whether or not and how it should change or be tweaked.

You could definitely get into, a third thing people have mentioned already, arguing that people should pay for the number of words read or the enjoyment derived or something else that precludes free lending of a book once purchased but that becomes pretty impractical pretty quickly. If you're reimagining distribution systems as a hypothetical "how do we get closer to the idealism of paying per word read," I think that's time well spent. And a good example is countries that have adapted to better compensate for library lending. I didn't previously know that was a thing and it seems a pretty good way to work towards ensuring that content creators are not taken advantage of.

This post is already way too long, rambling and winding to be of any real value but I'm just going to acknowledge that books are somewhat unique and I think this runs us into a number of problems. I don't need to use my car just one time. When I lend it to someone else, I lose the utility of it. If I buy a piece of art, I don't want to look at it just once. I want it to adorn a place and convey a feeling and an emotional weight to space. But when I buy a book, to a great extent, I really only need to use it once. After that it's a relatively disposable item to me and I think that, to this extent, you can really start to see why lending is problematic. But again, I think you have to address that in a practical manner to get closer to an ideal rather than achieving that ideal.

There's one final thing I want to address here and that's a reference back to what I think served as the genesis of this thread. I made a comment about ebooks and how I disapprove of their pricing model. I just want to reiterate that I don't think it's reasonable for ebooks, or any product really, to remain the same price in perpetuity, especially if I'm also losing utility because I can't resell or lend my copy. Ebooks fail for me because they are more expensive than an equivalent alternative and because they are a lesser product. I don't buy them and I pretty much never will. Audiobooks on the other hand serve a very different role and that's almost exclusively what I buy these days because the niche they fill is the niche I need as a parent of children. I don't always have time to sit and read but I can often listen to someone else read as I'm doing other things. I love audiobooks and my subscription to Audible has both served me well and cost me much over time.

I lied. One more thing; I also subscribe to scribd and I wonder what others think about a service like that. It's kind of a Netflix / library approach, though not all book or audiobooks are available.

Edited by Ser Not Appearing
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39 minutes ago, Ser Not Appearing said:

There are too many arms and legs to this discussion to really do it justice. Ethics and legality are intertwined but also separate, which itself creates ambiguity and potential for talking past one another. It's an interesting discussion but it's probably ill suited to the internet just due to the different competing angles. Now that I've recognized the futility of my contribution, I'd like to make said contribution.

@Ser Not Appearing

Let's cut to the chase.

You said in the previous thread, as far as I recall, that you tend to buy used book. Which is perfectly legal.

Now, I personally don't think that a person who is too poor to buy new books/ebooks, or someone who is unable to buy them (because, e.g., his country is under international sanctions), should be unable to read books.

However, would you not agree that someone who is only buying used books does not directly compensate the authors in any way?

Basically, authors are able to gain money, at the level they do today, because a population of readers of a certain size is buying new books. All the other readers, whether they buy used books, pirate e-books or rob Barnes and Noble stores at gunpoint, piggyback on the people who buys new books. In biological terms, they are parasites.

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21 minutes ago, Ser Not Appearing said:

In all earnestness, did you actually read my post before deciding to ask these questions? I'm happy to clarify as needed but I think my (admittedly long and winding) post already answered these things.

I read the whole thing, but I'm afraid I found no answer there.

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