The Perfect Thread: How One Question Tapped into the Soul of MetaFilter


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February 1, 2017

Okay, it's not especially magical. But it's me and Jessamyn and we talk about MeFi and shaking fists at kids and the Olympics and sundry other things. Recorded on Monday the 26th, it runs about 75 minutes. And open mouth deer action! This episode, jessamyn and I catch up on the last month and change of MetaFilter, discuss books and the reading-or-not thereof, and workshop the title of this podcast episode briefly. Recorded Tuesday February 6th, it covers January and bits and pieces of December while we're at it, and runs about 75 minutes.

Click here to refresh the feed. It's the call-in show! Jessamyn and a very sleepy moi chatter for a bit about site and life stuff in haphazard fashion, interspersed with a couple long strings of calls from a bunch of lovely and occasionaly slightly cheeky MeFites. It was a lot of fun and a minor pain in the ass to put together, and runs about 80 minutes total. Other than that, the non-call-in parts are shorter than usual and all over the place, so: some links! It's me! It's Jessamyn!

It's a damn-the-torpedoes, full-amble-ahead ramshackle of an episode as we catch up on MetaFilter, talk a bit about the recent US politics discussion changes, and just recklessly chat about this and that while I enjoy a nice big glass of wine. Covers November and runs about 80 minutes. Helpful Links Podcast Feed Subscribe with iTunes Direct mp3 download We threw caution to the wind structurally this time, so links are all over the place. It's like a scavenger hunt for subsites!

I hardly know you! This episode covers the month of October and runs about an hour and a half. I need pattern ideas! I only saw the ocelot smile once, the day it escaped by Sys Rq - Examples of rural tech communes?

Podcast 76 Transcript

Jessamyn and I catch up on Canada trips and broken feet, and my idiolectical idiosyncrasies get dragged out of the bag again, along with a bunch of good MetaFilter stuff, in this podcast episode recorded Friday September 29th. It runs about 80 minutes total. Recorded September 1st, it runs about 90 minutes. What should I do? Jessamyn and I carve out about 80 minutes to talk about MetaFilter and our respective weird busy months, including side threads on having too many dictionaries, what exactly qualifies as the greater Boston area, and questions about bathroom stuff.

We cover pretty much all of July. Also, hey, we had a best post contest last month! Badass to you by bq - I grew up wanting to be a superhero by Mchelly - "All the dads here just are queer in some way—and that's that. You'll die. Go inside the circle? Probably die. Hey, who's that on this month's podcast?

He released an application allowing players to click on their cow via mobile devices, provided funny premium cows such as the Bacon Cow, the Oil Cow, the Mao Cow, the Bling Cow, etc. By pushing monetization techniques to an extreme, Bogost was hoping that people would stop playing the game. However, each time he added new items and functionalities, players sent positive feedback and played the game with even more enthusiasm.

Eventually, enhancing the game became an obsession for Bogost who later admitted that he had fallen foul of his own trap. By exaggerating these gameplay elements, the parody showed how trivial and manipulative the rules of this game genre are. At the stylistic level, Cow Clicker reiterated the vivid colour palette of most casual games and created a direct reference to FarmVille with its cute cow icon and logo. Overall, Cow Clicker reiterated and amplified many elements of its targeted genre without transforming them substantially.

Moreover, the publication of this game parody on the same social network as its target did not recontextualize the genre conventions and distance the parody from games like FarmVille. We can therefore hypothesize that the difference between the parody and its target was not significant enough to convince all players that Cow Clicker was an ironical parody. The fact that it mobilized more parody techniques based on imitation than parody techniques relying on transformation might have increased the risk of confusion with the parodied genre.

Cow Clicker is a good example of games that heavily rely on procedural rhetoric to make a point. As Bogost reported on his blog, several players considered the game to be stupid and boring because they did not perceive it as a parody of casual games. Many others enjoyed playing Cow Clicker even though they did not detect its irony.

He and his friends used the game to engage in collaborative writing of poetic cowmmentaries on Facebook :. Cow Clicker may have been intended as satire, but personally I quite enjoy it. For me it is kind of like a collaborative writing exercise. My friends and I routinely share our clicks and attach a cow-related semi-philosophical quote or other twist on a popular meme. Malcom Ryan. As Jon suggests, it is the social aspects of these games that contribute to their appeal:.

According to my network model, you NEED this kind of obsessive time-based clicking in order for a game to go viral. What keeps them going is that if they stop for even a while they quickly see reports of their friends playing, which motivates them to start again, which in turn motivates any of their other friends who might otherwise unhook. It sends the wrong message, Ian, the wrong message!

Cow Clicker was perversely enjoyable. The cartoon cow was cute, with a boxy nose and nonplussed expression. After every click, it emitted a satisfying moo. The game may have been dumb and even mean. But it was also, for some reason that resisted easy explanation, kind of appealing. Tanz, This is precisely what Bogost attempted when he orchestrated the Cowpocalypse to put an end to his absurd experiment.

On September 7, , he permanently removed all cows from the game, while leaving the empty pastures on which players can still click to collect the one million Cow clicks needed to buy a silver cow bell. This minimalist version of the game seems more efficient in terms of criticism, since no artifice distracts players from its underlying message.

It just looked like we were clicking cows. Do you have a goal or time frame of when this will be set back to normal? The cows got raptured. In retrospect, we can ask ourselves what Bogost could have done to maximize the chances of success of its parodic communication from the beginning. You could shut down the game and send a communique to the users explaining the project as seen by you, what were your goals and expectations, and how you feel about it now, etc.

That would be a really good way of overcoming the alienation that systems as cowclicker grow off and communicating truth in a place made only of lies. People — every day normal regular people — actually LIKE the idea of having a farm. Cow Clicker perhaps generates such strong reactions because it mocks gameplay elements that require the involvement of the players to be actualized, and therefore laugh at their expense more than television and film parody mocks viewers.

It only matters if someone takes it to excess. As players progress in the game, more clicks are required to gain an extra item. Once players have clicked on the switch 10, times, the meaning of the anagram A. They quickly become cumbersome as they pile up in a the limited space of the digital bedroom. While A. The title Abusive Video Game Manipulation , for its part, clarifies the critical intention of the creators, but only the few players who clicked 10, times on the switch will see it.

I have no desire to continue. Furthermore, the sexual artefacts that appear after a considerable number of clicks distracted some players from the message. I love the game! Before you play it!! IOW, weirdness. Overall, A. The effectiveness of its procedural rhetoric, based on parodic exaggeration, seems to be short-circuited by the lack of similarity between the parody and its target at the stylistic level, as well as by the publication of the parody on online platforms that are usually reserved for indie games.

About Human Relations

Most players are therefore unable to identify the target and to detect the underlying criticism. Just like in Cow Clicker and A. This game, however, mobilizes many other parody techniques at the textual and stylistic levels which seems to support the message conveyed through the game procedures. The fact that the game is stripped of all elements that make casual games attractive, such as cute characters, animals or anthropomorphic objects, minimizes the risk of confusing the parody with its target, and of enjoying playing the parody.

The publication of Progress Wars on an independent website, rather than on Facebook , also contributes to differentiate it from the parodied genre. In comparison to Cow Clicker and A. It also includes more clues in its paratexts: the title reminds one of the social game Mafia Wars , while literalizing the gameplay element of progression. Moreover, links towards the Twitter account and the website of the creator appear at the bottom of the screen for players who want to comment on the game or learn more about the intention behind it.

I have analyzed popular Facebook games and distilled their enticing gameplay into their core game mechanics. The result is Progress Wars. Progress Wars is the result of a lazy Sunday and a desire to point out the pointlessness of many casual games. For all these reasons, Progress Wars seems to have a higher critical potential than Cow Clicker or A. Journalist Neil Vidyarthi , from Adweek , said:. While social games like Mafia Wars tend to allow us to live out the fantasy of being a kingpin mobster, the truth is that a lot of the action consists of clicking through task bars.

Progress Wars pokes fun at popular Facebook applications, distilling the gameplay down to its simplest level. In the discussion thread of Metafilter , players often compared Progress Wars to its predecessor Progress Quest Fredricksen, ; a game parody that runs its own course, as soon as the players are done creating their characters, to mock repetitive actions that we sometimes have to perform in MMORPGs like EverQuest Sony, in order to get better equipment. Several references were also made to FarmVille and other Facebook games.

Because it is difficult to interpret the meaning of character tweets or posts, a reception study would be a worthwhile undertaking to confirm my assumption about the success of this parody criticism. That extra layer is the difference between a felony crime and a civil dispute.

Probably, but not certainly. Just consider my choice to borrow a book from a friend or the library, or to buy it second hand and avoid triggering a royalty payment. All these choices give me unrestricted access to your work and deprive you of income, yet none of them make me a criminal. Again, deprivation alone does not equal stealing. Um, no. Which is a matter of civil dispute. You can call it theft if you like.

You can also say that it burns you up, and is therefore arson. You can say it hits you where it hurts, making it assault. You can even say it kills your motivation, and is therefore murder. You understand that specific words have specific meaning. You understand that doing any of this before a court of law only makes you look like a moron, or worse — illiterate.

Commercial piracy may rise to the level of criminal, as can the creation of systems to facilitate unauthorized duplication and access. Not necessarily. Rather, it is a conditional clause based on the assumption that the costs of the monopoly it imposes always a bad thing are — in this very limited case — acceptable, since the benefits derived for creators and society alike vastly outweigh the price. However, no evidence for this assumption is provided, beyond the intuitive assumption that this must be the case. But this same intuitive view is the one that anchored the concept of a terracentric universe throughout Antiquity, and into the Renaissance.

In fact, this is already happening. Because when it was developed, it was naturally limited to a very small set of circumstances, and a very limited set of behaviors. Consequently, copyright law — and the underlying concepts of intellectual property that inform this law — must be rewritten for the internet age. The old order has ceased to have any real effect except to keep the new order from emerging.

Those of us struggling to get by are caught in a world where rules are temporary at best, of limited effect, and unlikely to sustain old enterprises or new. Instead, we need to recognize that the world changes — suddenly, at times — and that we need to change with it. We also need to recognize copyright law for what it is — a legal monopoly with its authority firmly limited by the costs it imposes, and further limited the Constitutional demand that the benefit of paying these costs accrue to creative individuals and free society alike. I have a particular dislike of DRM — if I purchase a legal version of something why should I be prevented from subsequently selling it on as second hand should I wish to?

In addition once I have purchased one format of a book why should I have to pay again to purchase another? I have already paid for the intellectual content.


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With music why is it that I can buy a CD and rip it to my hard drive for my own use — but cannot do the same in reverse from a legally downloaded MP3 file to CD. I contend that I have purchased the right to read or listen to the work in question and fail to see why I should have restrictions placed on my further use of the work in question — I can sell a book or a CD or as I often do donate them to my local hospital why should I not be able to do the same with downloaded product?

It could be your favorite author, Mr. Books are still being bought. Ever visit a Barnes and Noble? So calm down…yeesh. You can really tell who the authors are in this commentary. I find it funny that anyone would actually get riled up about any of this. Sorry to be harsh but, well, you wanted reality…. But then, I could also go visit the local state-affiliated book pirates aka libraries. Why do you think you should have access to something in all its different formats for a single price? If you purchase a DVD in the US, and then move to Australia, do you expect it to be replaced with the required format there for free?

Will I or other independent authors be consulted? Will any small presses be consulted? Any new copyright law will end up being flouted and debated as just as unfair as the current one and this whole mess over digital rights will continue on. Piracy will continue. Authors will continue earning pittances, if indeed, they have any venues left to actually try to earn through.

My opinion about ebooks changes with each new twist and turn. Naw, not really. Everyone argues that piracy is killing the music industry when studies have shown that it has very little negative effect. Have many of you actually downloaded a pirated ebook? They flipped through a few chapters, found the concept even more interesting than the summary described, but the OCR was terrible. It had barely been proofed, weird symbols ahoy, words jumbled, sentences missing, and entire parts were rendered unreadable.

It was a poor quality product, because someone had carelessly produced it to get it up there. It was overall somewhat readable, but just barely. So you know what this associate of mine did? So he did. He bought the whole series, legitimately. An interesting thing about this? Corey Doctorow seems to be one of the most relevant to the written world—his stories are free, his books are as well, but you can still buy them and many do! He has fans that promote his work and support his ability to continue writing, and he has other things on his plate, too.

He seems to be making a good run of it, and somehow all of his work is still freely available for download. For music, Jonathan Coulton is your guy. He makes it very easy to get his material for free, makes it very, very easy to buy it, and encourages people to spread the word.

Have you seen the number of fan movies for some of his songs? Hoo boy. There are other authors, few and far between, who make a full living—perhaps not the most comfortable one—writing serial stories online for donations. People give to those to see the story continue, they give because they like what they see, and heck, maybe they give because they think the author is a decent person and know their money is going straight to that person, and not to eighteen different sets of grabby hands along the way.

Webcomic authors, too—they put their content up online for free, and make money through merch and ads and their fans donating. Joss Whedon is an atypical example of that—his Dr. The theme of the above? They want to share their work with the world—and getting paid for it is a side effect. These are people I want to support.

I want to give these people my money, to help them. If the buying process is a pain in the butt too.. You have options. If you buy a physical book and then want to read it on another device, you are stuck—even if they offered an ebook for a couple of dollars on top of the physical book price either bundled during sale with a code, or afterwards you can get the ebook for a small cost , more people would probably be happier with it.

As it stands, if you want the physical copy and an ebook, you need to buy the text twice at full cost, which is irritating. This is a frequent refrain in NFO description files contained in pirated software. I myself see it all the time. I just stick with the pirated copy. Fish: Thank you. I think I have seen talk of bundling ebooks with print a coupon code like you mentioned. You know, since they think ebooks should be priced just a few dollars cheaper than hard backs. Then you can download the one you need, whenever you need to, after one purchase.

If you can get it for free, why pay? We DO write because we love to write; very few of us can live on our writing alone, so most of us struggle to balance writing with our jobs and our families and our marriages; our commitment to our work often drives us to the edges of society we work as temps, we live in poverty, etc. To understand how strange this argument sounds to many writers, try applying it to a different field:.

It just seems fair to me. All of them have, however, brought along DVDs. Supreme Court in see Bobbs-Merrill Co. Straus and subsequently codified in the Copyright Act of , 17 U. The doctrine allows the purchaser to transfer i. They are digital, in formats that is practically impossible to loan or share without making copies of them. If you do make copies of them, then you are breaking the law. The First Sale Doctrine cannot be liberally applied to ebooks because of that.

Then, yeah, the First Sale Doctrine would cover that. Would have transferred them and your legally purchased rights to them to whomever bought the flash drive. Copyright and First Sales Doctrine, much simplified, read that authors can seek legal recourse if unauthorized full copies of their works are made. That is why they yell about being robbed of earnings when they discover their work s have been scanned or uploaded to file sharing networks. And they of course should. Except, you know, when it causes two groups that are dependent on each other to become enemies.

A disclaimer, I am a writer, mostly short genre fiction, and make about two and a half percent of my total income from writing. We I write with my wife have managed to keep this up for the past four years, and we only submit to markets that pay pro rates for our genre. Aside from that I collect fiction and attend conventions. The market is not just obscure, it is absolutely opaque. There is a market for almost any thing, but the problem is letting that market know you exist. The best example of letting the market know you exist, is Mr. Eric Flint, in a series of articles He has clearly described the fair use view of publishing.

In a like manner if any one wants some of my stuff I will just give it to them. Friends and fans who support you are worth more than the royalties of a pirate copy, they represent future sales from them and their friends.

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I am a published author of around 50 ebooks — all romance novels. Each and every one of them has been pirated. What has it done to me? Diminished my back catalogue which I have worked hour days 7 days a week to develop over the last three years. Somebody alerted me about this blog and it makes me want to scream.

As for the cost of my books? If I want a haircut or any other type of service, I expect to pay. I tell you what else piracy does.

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It means people tampering with my work and trying to break it down into other formats that cause those weird symbols in the text you often read. Anyone who has ever seen a pirated movie or a borrowed screener will tell you they have glitches. That was pretty funny. No idea where he got the movie…but anyway… I see people whining on message boards about the same glitches in pirated books.

Missing pages, blank pages etc. Pay the buck and a half an author needs and actually read the book.

About Work

It is the exact same thing. Demand is not the issue. There is no scarcity. Right or wrong text, music, and movies can all be copied easily and for free. For many downloading is easier, or at least worth the hassle. Economics works on supply and demand. If people want your product, enough to pay and cant get the same thing elsewhere cheaper, they will buy from you.

If they can get the same thing elsewhere for free, they will. The key concept is Marginal Cost. As the Marginal Cost the cost to produce one more of an item approaches zero, purchase price will also approach zero. No value judgments here, just economics. Pretty basic economics at that. Often those creators were able to use the success of their creations and parlay that into financing success, but not always.

Being an artist, author, musician, or similar does not preclude you from the realities of economics or the need to be a good businessman. Rant and rave all you want, your monopoly on your work is over. You can stop producing and sulk, or you can accept reality and find a way to make it work for you. Authors are like musicians. Some are rock-stars and get paid tons of money for their work because they are popular and people like their work.

Some, however, are piano bar pianists who get paid from their tip jar, are the least popular and have another job for their primary income. He has not the popularity nor the fan-base to expect that kind of money. Maybe all of you authors should start realizing that you might not be the rock-star just because some people like your work. You might not be the concert pianist either, even though you consider yourself talented or spent years in school.

You might just be the lowly piano bar guy. Your work might not be worth what you think it is worth. Today, as ever, every artist has to beat the odds. Their popularity and skill must outweigh the piracy and royalty percentages stacked against them. Produce something, place a value on it and put it out for people to have the choice to buy or to move one…you expect to get paid if someone decides your item is just what they wanted or needed. The world has changed, people fundamentally have not. If its obtainable for free, people will get it for free and damn the moral cost. Factor it in as one of the many costs of the digital revolution and move on.

Could somebody please fix how this conversation is threaded so that the last two-thirds of the page of comments are no longer unreadable because the columns are so narrow? One thing publishers should be aware of is that there are a lot of people who are not enamored of the book as a physical object. Books are heavy, take up a lot of space, collect dust, and, eventually, fall to pieces. I will not be able to take a couple of rooms full of books to my retirement home, but I want to have my favorites with me. Many people would break their banning orders and if caught faced going to prison.

It seems clear to me that that law is unjust, and someone who breaks their banning order, while they are performing a criminal act, is not breaking any moral law, as they should be allowed to go where they please. The two are distinct. If you go into any library or Kinkos, they have signs telling you that photocopying copyrighted material is illegal, and not permissible.

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Hmm… wonder why THAT is?? Most of us have them, these days. And most of us post an e-mail address there to contact. And most of us at least in the e-book industry are often willing to part with either a partial or full FREE copy of a book for someone interested in finding out if they like our work or not. But fair works both ways. A good author will typically try to get you a copy of a book… Most of us run contests and other ways for you to get a book at extreme discounts or for free. Disney, and friends have done far more to damage your reasonable ability to make money than any number of book pirates ever can.

The amazing contributions via music, literature, technology that we so enjoy on a daily basis could end. They want to earn from writing, they need to write their own stories my 11 year old daughter already does! Now here is this new form of book, and typically the only way to do what they are used to doing with physical books loaning, sharing, reselling is by copying it. But I do agree about the sampling. You can sample at Amazon, etc. Again ignoring the point. I never said it was OK, I never said this is the way it should be.

This is the way it IS. Like it or not. And again, nothing was taken, only copied. Calling it theft is incorrect. I am not talking morals, simply definitions, copyright infringement is not the same thing as theft. You lose credibility when you claim it is. RIAA tried that, no one believed them.

Demand and Supply. Consider however bottled water. Water is essentially free from any tap, but people will gladly pay for it in a bottle. What is really being sold is the bottle, and in some cases the service of filtering the water. The printed book was a good bottle, but is being replaced. Authors are feeling persecuted because they want to protect their creations, are told that they have certain rights and obligations to, and yet are attacked when they attempt to do so.

We humans are told that we have the right to pursue earning a living in any legal manner we wish. The pirate is a programmer. What if everyone started stealing his software? Why pay for what you can get for free, right? He works for a name-less, face-less huge corporation, right? Adds drama. Stirs people up. Gets it spread all over the internet. So who is hurt if you substitute pirated books for used books? Clearly both the author and publisher are not benefiting from the sale of used books. Neither are they hurt for books that are old and out of print, with no intention of doing reprints.

Free to read excerpts and costs a few bucks to buy a complete copy. Buying a POD would be even nicer for a lot of us, and I suspect this pirate too. Print books can be damaged, destroyed, wear out, fall apart eventually. Maybe not for years, decades or even centuries, but they can. After all, nearly everyone who works gets paid, but very few get royalties. Do I have to send GE a penny every time I run my dishwasher? Do I have to send a monthly sofa fee to the company that designed my furniture. Do I get paid above and beyond my salary and maybe a bonus at Christmas?

Of course not. Most people see royalties as the exception, not the rule. Right, and now you sound like your demanding to have your cake and eat it. Consider your demand from the perspective of the audience. If you say that enforcing the current law will — suddenly — open them to a broad range of intrusive and dangerous privacy invasions, will they still say royalties are justified? Probably not. What if publishers respond by pressuring lawmakers to demand that the internet be transformed into a giant surveillance network that gives private companies the right to police every transaction that people make, and punish them severely for refusing to accept their now ridiculous assertion that no other payment aside from royalties is acceptable?

You may even win. But if you do, it will probably be the end of democracy, and with it, the end of your artistic freedom. If you feel you have a god-given right to extract royalties, and are willing to subvert the freedom of all your fellow citizens to enforce that right, then you deserve to be squeezed out. Not sure how to do that? Would you mind if, with some clever marketing and savvy promotion, this buyer got others to pay him a million dollars for the story? Would you be satisfied with what you had, or would you demand more? More importantly, would you demand more while offering nothing else in return?

Because even though you say that you simply want to get paid for your work, in reality, you want more — much more. Really, you want to continue extracting wealth from those who pay you to do the work long after the work itself is complete. In other words, you want a royalty. Which is why monopolies are generally illegal. Remember that. If you abuse that power, then it can — and will — be taken away. Yes, the culture may suffer in the process. But for the same reason we endure fevers to defeat viruses, we will tolerate the setback, knowing that culture — like life itself — will grow back.

Physical barriers were far higher. For a while, our normal intolerance of monopolies could be suspended, and the culture could develop in peace. But now that the physical barrier has cracked, and individuals are having to contend directly with what was always on the other side, the special exception that allowed for this monopoly is no longer so special. The lion is out of the cage and is now mauling humans in the street which is exactly what we expect from lions.

If you want to write, then write. If you can establish or join a financially satisfactory exchange, even better. If you want to extract monopoly rent from everyone who reads your work, do that too. Just know that people are going to be increasingly intolerant of this demand. Personally, my interests is in developing frameworks that will thrill audiences and attract the best talent I can afford — and to do this with only the most limited reliance on copyright protection.

Specifically, to guard against the encroachments of other, already established monopolists fire against fire, and all that. Entrepreneurs who use their freedom to copy to open new markets should be encouraged by me, not taxed. None of this exists. Not yet, anyway. I write ebooks. I read ebooks. Allow me to chime in with:. And even if the author is paid a significantly higher percentage on those ebooks, they can still cost less than print. Profit margins on print are minuscule. On ebooks, they only increase with every copy legally sold.

My DRM-free ebooks available for repeated download in multiple formats for for one price are priced at less than half what the print versions cost, and earn me twice as much per copy in dollars and cents. So any claim that downloading an illegal copy is only taking pennies out of my pocket is patently untrue. Any assertion that people only pirate because the books are priced too high is patently untrue. Any assertion that people only pirate because they hate DRM is patently untrue. Any assertion that format restrictions are why people pirate is patently untrue.

My books are pirated. Sometimes more often than they are legally purchased. I am, apparently, loved like a rock star by some readers. Does anyone have them? Please email me offlist! You want more material produced that you like? Be a demographic worth courting. That means remunerating authors and publishers who put out content you want to read!

Editing, cover art, formatting, distribution, promotion, these are services my publisher provides—at a cost to them. Why would they? Not every download may result in a sale lost, but some of them do. Ever been to literotica looking for something worth reading? Ever read slush for a publisher? Ever spent any time reading self-published books?

Publishers are gatekeepers. Except that now authors who used to write well enough to earn money will have to go back to stocking shelves at the grocery store, and will either write less or not at all. Yay for the new world order! If my work is worth something to readers, they should pay for it. Why is it that the author must deal with the reality that suits you best? The truth is, there are two realities involved here:.

I was totally okay with doing that. Unfortunately, not all distribution outlets are okay with authors doing that sort of thing so I had to remove that to continue distributing them. That has happened the act, not that the plaguerizer got the original from a file sharing network. Call it a curse or a blessing… you need to learn to respect the work of others. I know, impossible pipe-dream. And every damn one of them gets pirated.

I work for flat fee because a lot of anthologies pay a flat fee. This is fine. As it stands, royalties ARE how we get paid for our work. The reader buys a book. The publisher gets a cut, our editor gets a cut and we get a cut. When the book goes out of print in years and we get the rights back, we can do as we please from there. We got paid for of them. How is this not discouraging? I do one thing and someone else does another and then we trade the products of that labor. But if you steal my labor, I have to find labor that provides enough in trade to support me, labor that you cannot steal, and that means less of the type of labor that gives you the books you want to read.

Information has no physical material to place value in, so the value is in the rights to that information. The publisher then see they only have this amount of sales when in fact the number is much greater, in turn they are not so quick to pick up more books by said author.

That means your fav. No more stories. People have got to understand this is their job and you are taking it away from them. How they put food on their table and you can justify that you knew it was wrong but you did it anyway. What a world we live in!!!! In fact, many people interested in copyright reform think it would be a good idea if you did have to regularly assert your claim via, perhaps, an online registry. No such provisions exist, which has given rise to the orphan works issue. I know this is cold comfort, but the one valuable aspect of being pirated is that it provides publishers cleat evidence that people want to read your work.

Publishers — as you must already know — are famously risk adverse. They can already gauge who will buy, and how to market to them. Pirates may not pay, but if they provide you with validation that you can sell to people for whom risk is uncomfortable, then you may be able to turn this phenomena to your advantage.

That, by the way, is where clout in media trades is increasingly appearing. So now I mostly borrow from a local library and read, though their selection is pretty poor Which brings me to whether I would download and read a book. Plus I never need to read them at a stretch so its OK to read onscreen — Comics, anyone have the first Spiderman comic readily available in print? And at what price? Ditto Asterix… And how long back have these been first published and should we be paying for anything more than the cost of printing for new copies?

So though they are an absolute pain to read onscreen I still stick to them. Which brings us to Copyright and the ridiculous copyright laws at least in the US based on which Amazon pulled back the books. Your customer wants x at price y, you have two options a. Or you go elsewhere and find new customer who can take what you can currently deliver.

Somehow I manage to find good sites, sites I like, sites that are new, sites that are cutting edge, sites that make me happy, sites that make my life easier. How does it all work then? The idea that the public would be lost and adrift without publishers here choosing what we should read something which in itself seems like a bad idea is ridiculous.

There would be book clubs, book discussion boards, book ranking sites, author websites, the media would recommend books are book reviewers suddenly going to vanish over night? There are others ways to make money from your creations, as discussed to death above. Hercule: What do you suggest we do to make money as writers if we give the books away? Concrete examples please. But they should be able to afford to live. You want good investigative reporting? You want enriching works of literature? Writers have to eat and drink just like their readers. Yes, scarcity and demand are important.

Perhaps people here disapprove of things like the minimum wage. You want writers to adapt? Enjoy the self-publicising blowhards who can master marketing but know zilch about writing. We are responsible for the world we create. Living for free is cheap and lazy. The society we are creating will share those characteristics. I prefer hard copy of books but I have scanned out-of-print ones. I feel that publishers who let books go out of print lose the right to complain when their books are e-pirated.

Authors who have a problem with this have an issue with the publisher, not the readers who are going out of their way to obtain the book.

The Perfect Thread: How One Question Tapped into the Soul of MetaFilter The Perfect Thread: How One Question Tapped into the Soul of MetaFilter
The Perfect Thread: How One Question Tapped into the Soul of MetaFilter The Perfect Thread: How One Question Tapped into the Soul of MetaFilter
The Perfect Thread: How One Question Tapped into the Soul of MetaFilter The Perfect Thread: How One Question Tapped into the Soul of MetaFilter
The Perfect Thread: How One Question Tapped into the Soul of MetaFilter The Perfect Thread: How One Question Tapped into the Soul of MetaFilter
The Perfect Thread: How One Question Tapped into the Soul of MetaFilter The Perfect Thread: How One Question Tapped into the Soul of MetaFilter

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