Neil Gaimon on Copywrite Piracy & The Web

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moriarty777
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Neil Gaimon on Copywrite Piracy & The Web

Post by moriarty777 »

Not to start any controversy but this caught my eye (being something from a favorite author of mine).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Qkyt1wX ... r_embedded

My introduction to Neil Gaimon (and Terry Pratchet), was 'Good Omens'. This was a book that a friend had loaned me. Word of mouth and spreading the material is a great way to get people introduced to books, films, and music.

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Re: Neil Gaimon on Copywrite Piracy & The Web

Post by Breakdaddy »

Interesting.

To follow-up posters: There are people who are going to wholeheartedly agree with Gaimain's findings and those who vehemently disagree. I know the folks here likely will keep this thread conversational and not confrontational, but I also realize there are some very strong feelings tied to this topic, so I ask for civility :)
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Re: Neil Gaimon on Copywrite Piracy & The Web

Post by GoOrange »

Nice to see someone in the business taking a rational approach to this. Many content producers get emotional and can't get past the "They're stealing my stuff!" sentiment to look at the potential benefits like increased sales and revenue.

There is a fine line in there somewhere, however. In the music industry, you can buy your favorite songs on Amazon or you can illegally download a torrent copy. You've now duplicated the content with no loss of quality. Eventually, for some people, any impetus to buy stuff is gone, as they can get the same thing for free. If all music were made legally freely available, the only reason left to buy stuff (absent the illegality and threat of a lawsuit) would be to support your favorite musician and I'd wager the number of people buying stuff would plummet.

Things are a little different in the book industry where some still prefer to read print copies of books which you aren't able to "copy" and create your own perfect duplicate. With e-readers and PDFs becoming more prominent, this could change (although a lot of things are still heavily DRMed).

Gaiman mentioned that he released "American Gods" for free for a month. This was one book and for a limited time only. It would be interested to see what would happen if every book he wrote was made free indefinitely. Would sales go up or down?

When it comes to RPGs for me personally, If I can obtain a PDF to preview a product I will. If it's something I like and will play or run, I buy the print version.

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Re: Neil Gaimon on Copywrite Piracy & The Web

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EBook readers are becoming more and more viable with price drops and more powerful hardware for the same price or less. I recently purchased a nookcolor (my second ebook reader) and couldnt be happier with it after doing some in-house modifications. This kind of hardware might change the dynamic to be more in line with how music is treated. Out of curiosity I did a very quick search on the quality of current DRM strategies and was surprised to find that ebooks from the top retailers are exceedingly simple to crack. With that in mind, and the possible ubiquity of ebook readers, I find Gaiman's claims even more fascinating. Only time will tell if ebook reader hardware becomes mainstream enough to do a full analysis of the effects discussed by Gaiman.
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Re: Neil Gaimon on Copywrite Piracy & The Web

Post by Lord Dynel »

Pretty interesting. I wonder ow many other authors feel this way about their works and why their viewpoints (or Gaiman's, at least) is different than those of the music industry. I'm not saying no one of that industry does, but I haven't heard many, if any, similar viewpoints by those in the recording industry. The nature of the media and those fundamental differences may contribute to that, though.
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Re: Neil Gaimon on Copywrite Piracy & The Web

Post by finarvyn »

I know that I like to have both printed and electronic copies of books and RPGs, but it does annoy me to pay twice. On the other hand, there are some books like Lord of the Rings and Chronicles of Amber which I own multiple copies in paper. (I keep a backup copy at my parents' house and another backup at my wife's parents house for vacations.)

I don't think I've ever owned, played or read many books/rpgs that I only had as an e-copy. (I acquired a xerox copy of Warriors of Mars a couple of years before I could afford to buy one. But I did buy one, even though the original authors didn't get paid since it was a used copy.)

I guess I see the ethical side of this as well as the economical side and I can see how an author would be upset about not getting paid for work done. I still would prefer a printed copy.
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Re: Neil Gaimon on Copywrite Piracy & The Web

Post by Sir Ironside »

Just to get this out of the way; American Gods is by far one of my favourite Gaiman books.

It is interesting that Radiohead did something similar with their album; In Rainbows. What they did was post it on sites like iTunes for free, with an option of donating money, for the songs, or just download it for free. Not only where they pleasantly surprised that many people did donate, but where also surprised that sales of older albums jumped in sales. So, there is something there.

Radioheads'; Kid A is probably one of the best albums to come around in the last 3 decades. ;)

(On another note there was a "easter egg" combining the albums; OK Computer and In Rainbows. The mind-blowing result is explained here (See #8 on that list). I've tried it and it works just the way they said it would.)
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Re: Neil Gaimon on Copywrite Piracy & The Web

Post by serleran »

I may check into something in electronic form as it is usually easier to find and then add it to my list of eventual purchases in print form. This sucks, primarily, because the things I tend to want are rare, unusual, or obscure especially as it relates to certain works where there may only be a few handfuls known to exist. In those cases, I have little choice but to hope it appears on Project Gutenberg. Concerning RPGs... I have no desire in pdf, for almost any reason (there are, perhaps, one or two that make them worthwhile) but I will never purchase one and so I ignore them completely; things which are released only in pdf are likewise bypassed as being "non-existent" to me. E-readers and the like may make them portable but when I'm away from a computer, I want away from technology too.

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Re: Neil Gaimon on Copywrite Piracy & The Web

Post by Treebore »

He gets no argument from me. He gives the most sensible view about "piracy" then I have ever seen.

Sure, there is a certain percentage that never buy, and they never will, but I agree, most are like me, they get exposed to something for free, find out they like it, and then go out and buy their own legitimate copies. Every single RPG I currently play, I played by being shown it for free first, C&C, Aces and Eights, Star Wars Saga, going back to my even starting to play RPG's. Getting to look at it for free is going to lead to greater legitimate sales from the legitimate customer base.

Why? Because most of us fundamentally believe in fair pay for good work. So if we like what we see, we will pay for it. Those who don't, you won't get money out of them anyways. They'll steal it by shop lifting or pirating. There is always such a segment of society, period. There is another segment, a growing segment, that is simply poor, and the only way a company is ever going to get such people interested in their products is to offer them for free. Then, those with moral integrity, will pay good money for good product as they can. It may take them a long time, until they have enough of a cash wind fall to be able to buy things they have wanted to buy for a long time.

In the long run, all "piracy" is going to do, is increase sales to the legitimate consumer base. Those without such morals will never be a paying consumer anyways. So its best to just accept your going to have thieves, but most people who "come in your door" are going to turn into legitimate, honest customers who want to keep you in business because they like what you provide.
Since its 20,000 I suggest "Captain Nemo" as his title. Beyond the obvious connection, he is one who sails on his own terms and ignores those he doesn't agree with...confident in his journey and goals.
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Re: Neil Gaimon on Copywrite Piracy & The Web

Post by GameOgre »

I think that it is wrong to take what is not yours. So what if it doesnt hurt anyone else? It's wrong. You pay others to create things you like or do things you want them to do. A lot of time and effort and hard work went into the work you are taking for free.

The it does no harm defense does not work. It really does harm someone! The person who put all that hard work in for you to have it gets nothing in return. Money he was counting on to pay his bills and buy things he wants,just like you. Now he is short the money he would have made if you (the person wanting his work) would have paid.

A friend of mine needed a ride to work while his car was being fixed. He asked if he could ride with me since I had to go to work at the same time anyway and his house was on the way. He offered to pay half of the gass in exchange. Since work is such a long way to drive I was happy to share the cost and the ride. I budgeted my money out with that knowledge in mind so on payday I was counting on his half of the gass money. He stiffed me as his car was now fixed and he told me no harm no foul,after all I had to drive to work anyway right? No real reason to be upset.
I was pissed off and really in a jam because I had counted on that money.Three months later when I got a raise and promotion and became his boss he was damn sorry about it.

The same way a RPG game company counts of a certain number of books selling. I wonder if any rpg ideas or books were never made because the numbers on the last book just were not good enough? Almost but just not enough.

It just isnt right.

Now at the same time a friend of mine has like his whole computer filled with every rpg download he could find. He also cheats on his wife and his idea of politics drives me nuts. I'm still friends with him because he plays one awsome dwarven rogue as well as is funny to hang around. He doesnt try tell me its ok though. He says"Yeah its really fooked up that im such a bastard,whatcha gonna do ehh? "

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Re: Neil Gaimon on Copywrite Piracy & The Web

Post by Treebore »

I agree it isn't right, but theft is a reality of doing business, as todays news about the Wal Mart employee's being fired for actually stopping a thief who pulled a gun on them illustrates.

You are always going to have people rob you. Always. So accept it and do what you can about it, but focus on drawing in and providing the goods your legitimate customer base wants.

The bottom line of what Neil says is that when your stuff is put up on the internet, it is the same as friends sharing a book or album that exposes them to your works. That is the main way you gain new fans. A certain percentage will always steal, but the point is that you will get a 300% spike in legitimate sales you otherwise would not have had. Like he said, he put a book that had already been on the market and selling very well. They then put it up for free as an eBook, and the very next month they experienced a 300% increase in sales at independent books stores. That is damn good advertising, and wasn't piracy because the book was willingly put up. A total win for consumers and Neil and his publishers.
Since its 20,000 I suggest "Captain Nemo" as his title. Beyond the obvious connection, he is one who sails on his own terms and ignores those he doesn't agree with...confident in his journey and goals.
Sounds obvious to me! -Gm Michael

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Re: Neil Gaimon on Copywrite Piracy & The Web

Post by gideon_thorne »

I'm inclined to agree with Game Ogre. Far as I am concerned any financial gain doesn't cover the cost of principles. I'd rather starve to death than compromise and settle for 'reality'.

Course, Gaimon is talking about two different things here. If he's willingly putting up stuff for free, and it helps him, good. But I personally get discouraged to look around and see peoples hard work, mine and others, just stuck up there on the net for free. Especially when someone is rude enough not to ask if its ok first. 8-)
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Re: Neil Gaimon on Copywrite Piracy & The Web

Post by Treebore »

Well if your in business to try and promote principles thats fine, but if your in business to make money and provide the customers you have that do have principles with the products they want, then you may want to pay attention to what Neil says.

If your primary goal is to teach principles I hear religion is a great money making way to do it.
Since its 20,000 I suggest "Captain Nemo" as his title. Beyond the obvious connection, he is one who sails on his own terms and ignores those he doesn't agree with...confident in his journey and goals.
Sounds obvious to me! -Gm Michael

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Re: Neil Gaimon on Copywrite Piracy & The Web

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Treebore wrote:Well if your in business to try and promote principles thats fine, but if your in business to make money and provide the customers you have that do have principles with the products they want, then you may want to pay attention to what Neil says.

If your primary goal is to teach principles I hear religion is a great money making way to do it.
Well, personally, money isn't my primary goal. Doing what I enjoy is. Of necessity, I pull in enough to take care of the bills, and then some, but beyond that I really don't care. :)

I'm certainly not going to get into something that would make me bilious to acquire something I don't really care about, that provides me no enjoyment. :lol:
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Re: Neil Gaimon on Copywrite Piracy & The Web

Post by GameOgre »

Another thing I just thought of.

I have never even heard of someone getting a stolen PDF of a fiction book and printing it out to read/pass around.

I know for a fact that people print out stolen PDF's of roleplaying games share them/use them.

I would think people who read part of a stolen book PDF and like it would be more inclined to go buy the book so they can read it in comfort. After all printing out most books to read would cost a crapton more than just buying the book.

RPG PDF's are not like that. People would be way more willing to print them out to use as the cost wouldnt be more than they would have to pay anyway.

So really the whole book pdf thing isnt the same as role playing game pdf's. A much higher percentage of role players would never bother to buy the product.......and we all know that its not like anyone is getting rich off rpg creation. Making it harder for people to put out good stuff is just nuts.

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Re: Neil Gaimon on Copywrite Piracy & The Web

Post by moriarty777 »

Wait a sec... I think something is getting a bit muddled here. We need to keep a couple of concepts clear:

Neil Gaimon is specifically talking about his writing and his writing is usually in the context of a work of fiction. A book by Neil Gaimon which is shared will not have the same impact as the Player's Handbook which is constantly being consulted and used at a game table. Nor are either of these really the same as a piece of Peter Bradley's art. Intellectual Property is an important thing and issues of piracy can be a loaded subject with plenty of pro's and con's all depending on the medium in question.

If one is an avid reader (and I imagine there are several on these forums) how many times does one read the same novel? Sure, everybody has a few books they may go back to and pick some years later and in the course of a life, some will have been read multiple times. A few of us make it a point to re-read certain works every few years. However, if you read a lot and are constantly reading new books, chances are the amount of times you will re-read a great multitude of those books is diminished. If you keep that in mind, someone who might have read a book that they didn't pay for (be it borrowed or pirated) which had no intention for paying for said book may discover an author they are willing to spend money on. This is a bit what Neil Gaimon was getting at.

I'm also willing to bet that the majority of us was introduced to our first pen and paper RPGs by a friend. I would think that it is fairly rare that someone would buy a Player's Handbook without knowing what or having tried a RPG before.

Come on folks... if your group accepts newcomers into their midst, how often do they actually already own a copy of the PHB before they play for the first time... How many sessions do some go before they buy the needed book or even their own dice? We, the seasoned gamers, are more than happy to lend the books and allow other players to consult a PHB if they don't have one. We simply share and we're usually happy to do so (at least at first). In general, a lot of us would want the new players to get their own copy and dice as soon as possible. This is part for convenience but also to show solidarity to your favorite game developer.

Sure... it isn't a perfect world and some people just prefer to never pay for the stuff and some are likely never to buy in the first place. Who's to say? We all know of examples of someone who has gotten gaming PDFs from 'questionable' sources and use them instead of material they have paid for. Would they buy the stuff if there was no access to the material any other way?

Music... movies... art. Well, there are legitimate problems with piracy with music and movies and many reasons for and against and the issue of rights of the IP holder vs the rights of the end user are best left out completely IMO. Artwork is even more of a loaded issue since people take even more for granted when it comes to images.

However, in the SPIRIT that this thread was originally started in, this is what I would like to do. I want to pass on a book -- a novel. FREE. I'll cover the shipping costs to anywhere in the US or Canada. My only condition is that, the person who takes the offer, passes on a different book to someone else on the boards (anyone else). Who knows, we might be able to get an interesting book exchange program going which might lead us to discover other authors that we wouldn't normally be inclined to pick up.

Is there anyone here that would like to try something like this? If there is interest, let me know and I'll start up a new thread with a name like 'Book Exchange'. Assuming there is interest of course... no interest, no thread. :)

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Re: Neil Gaimon on Copywrite Piracy & The Web

Post by gideon_thorne »

Give up my books!? My preciouses! o.O`

Course, if you want some fantasy reading, you ought to check out this lady's work. http://www.amazon.com/Prophecy-Swords-M ... t_ep_dpt_1

Its even got some awesome art on the cover by this one brilliant but humble artist....:)
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Re: Neil Gaimon on Copywrite Piracy & The Web

Post by Breakdaddy »

I would be more than happy to lend out one of my barnes & noble nookbooks with the "lend me" feature to a fellow nookcolor or nook user. I don't have many yet but Im getting more as I discover more great authors.
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Re: Neil Gaimon on Copywrite Piracy & The Web

Post by Joe »

Neil Diamond rocks!

What?

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Re: Neil Gaimon on Copywrite Piracy & The Web

Post by Just Jeff »

Joe wrote:Neil Diamond rocks!
I used to work in a place where an oldies station was piped into every room. Believe me, I eagerly awaited Neil Diamond in the rotation, because he did rock (relatively speaking).

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Re: Neil Gaimon on Copywrite Piracy & The Web

Post by Just Jeff »

Lou Anders of Pyr Books was on the latest I Should Be Writing podcast, and he talked about that Neil Gaimon video (among many other things--entertaining fellow). He suspects Gaimon would get different results running his American Gods experiment today. Three years ago ebooks were a teaser to get people to buy the real thing, but with millions of iPads and smartphones and Kindles, that's changed. For a rapidly growing segment of the readership, if they have an electronic version, that's all they need.

Anders pushes hard to make some books freely available, especially the first book in a series, but he's also seen a couple of books torpedoed by piracy, so he doesn't see it as a one-size-fits-all issue. (And like many, he points out the huge gulf between giving away your own works and piracy.)

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