It's no use, we'll just get ripped off

At the risk of opening a can of worms, especially since a lot here on the forum writes academic stuff, did you see this:
It’s old news I know, but it still gets me so mad.
I never understood how people’s minds work when they pick up that copyrighted material, movie, text, picture, etc, and while looking at the © symbol they go to all that trouble of making a copy and then making it available on the net.
What goes through their minds? “Don’t you think I’m a nice fellow that did all this just for you?” “Let’s see if I can’t upload more illegal material on the net than you” ?
And the biggest mystery? “Oh look, it’s available here at the click of a mouse. Let’s download it…”
If somebody stole some jewelry I’m guessing most of us would think twice about picking it up and keeping it if you found it in the trash. I guess the term is fencing.

While I agree with you on the copyright issue, and incidentally, never download copyrighted material (with the exception of once or twice catching up on an episode of a television show I missed so I can continue to watch the others normally)… I understand the students’ point of view.

Textbooks are, on the whole, extremely expensive to the average student budget, and the vast majority of prescribed textbooks have very little actual value to the students. When I was a computer science student (admittedly a field where everything is available online anyway), I learnt after first semester never to buy a textbook again. At no stage after that did I even entertain it as a possibility.

Google is the best textbook there is, and it is free. Students are used to finding the material they require on the internet from a variety of sources, and expecting that content to be free. Most of it is free, and most of what isn’t is usually published in academic journals the University provides free access to. The rest of what isn’t free comes from rather dodgy subscription sites that effectively charge people to read a forum, and most of that information can be found just by googling a little harder.

In that kind of context, I don’t find it that surprising that students who find a downloadable version of a textbook see it as more of the same. They can download the textbook for free, or they can google a little harder and find the information from another source. Either way, they are never going to buy the textbook, so in there eyes it probably doesn’t make much difference.

I am not suggesting it is right, but it is probably not much different to students borrowing a book from the University library and renewing it for the entire semester either.

And I know there are a large variety of reasons for the high price, including printing quality, hard cover, limited distribution etc. but textbook prices in general do appear to be outright extortion to anyone with a limited knowledge of where that money goes.


[Edited to add: I do not mean to denigrate people who do write academic textbooks… I was talking merely from my perspective as a Computer Science student, and in relation to Computer Science textbooks. In that field, everything is available elsewhere. Textbooks may be more useful to students from other fields… I don’t know.]

I used to get upset with people who downloaded Music. Why because I used to run a small record label and I knew the hard work that went into things. So what I used to do was take popular songs I found on Limewire, then go into about the 27th second mark and pop in extremely high volume alarm sounds or static. I would then upload them in scores on P2P sites and give myself a chuckle when people would spend “hours” downloading RAR files they think are “albums” but are actually the same extremely LOUD and obnoxious NOISEs or COMMENTS. Sometimes we would slice in a few minutes of Cussing, name calling, flatulent sounds, vomiting sounds, etc, etc. Quite funny.

In other words I would get a small slice of revenge as those “files” would filter through the internet and cause havoc and mayhem whenever played. You could also say “rewrite” certain works of text so the information they conveyed was actually incorrect making sure “students” who downloaded these pirated copies actually received the WRONG information. Imagine their horror when they received FAILING grades because they were too cheap to fork up the money for some text books but instead spent their money on midget throwing contests and beer. It reinforces the fact “YOU GET WHAT YOU PAID FOR.”

In the end though you come to realize that people don’t care one bit. To them it is NOT stealing. They think if it is on the internet then it is rightfully theirs free of charge. That is until of course they download a really mean virus that was a payload in a popular downloadable file. Then of course they become the “victim” instead. Of course until something is stolen from them. Then they become the hypocrite.

I believe that they are correct. The person who “downloads” from a “public” location is no more responsible for the copy-write infringement than the person who happens to find a print out of KB’s scriv source on the sidewalk. The infringement is on the part of the poster or distributor. The exception to this is if the person knowing downloads it or even worse requests the posting. Then they are conspirators with the poster.

This is a HUGE point that is frequently overlooked. The RIAA and other infringement suits really hang on intent. It is easy to imply intent on p2p sites and specifically around music (where nothing is ever free).

So if you put it on the net for PUBLIC (no uname pw needed to download) you have made it available to all just as if you put it on the sidewalk.

Now the scrivener scrivener may be able to provide a correction if needed, but this was how it was explained to me (as a plaintiff).

Brilliant Wock! Great idea. My thoughts exactly.

Jaysen, did you mean that then it’s ok? If it’s PUBLIC, no password and username, then anybody shouldn’t need to think twice before downloading it? You mean so long it’s just one’s and zero’s it’s ok if it’s on the net, because if it’s on the net it must be ok? I don’t think KB would like that idea. If Scrivener found it’s way out on the net for anybody to download without paying.
There’s a price to be paid for getting things for free. But kids, no people, don’t seem to see that.
If you put your car on the sidewalk with the keys in it, would it be ok to take it? Of course not. Just because it’s sitting there doesn’t make it ok. Everybody knows that.

Let’s go back to music. Not so long ago we bought a LP and went home and maybe called a friend and asked if they wanted to come over and listen to the latest Brownsville Station. Nobody made a copy of the LP so you could take it upstairs and play it on the second turntable you had. You didn’t make a copy so your friends could have one. Of course not. You couldn’t make copies of LP’s. Everybody knew that.
But then suddenly you could make copies. And what happened? People started making these really weak arguments about “I need to make a copy for personal use”, “a copy for the sound system at my beach house, my basement, my summer house, my bathroom and so on”. Why? You already have the CD already, Why do you need another? Why not bring it to the next room?

Matt, there’s a big difference. You’re allowed to borrow a book from a library, even renewing it if nobody else wants it, but you’re not allowed to steal a book. It says so in the book. There’s that little c: © and there’s usually a piece of text that says something like: No part of this book may be copied without permission. So if you take the book and copy it and then return it, you’ve committed a crime. If you then take that copy and put it available for anyone to download on the net, then you’ve succesfully destroyed that author’s pay.
That’s not something you can go back and say “I didn’t think about that”.
And now the book is out there! Wonderful. All of a sudden it’s ok to download it. Because it’s just like it sitting on the sidewalk. It has to be free. It has to be ok.
If the latest Batman movie turned up on the internet, lots and lots of kids would probably download it because they expect it to be free. It sitting there on the sidewalk, so it has to be free. Right? Sorry, I don’t think so.
It’s that mentality that’s wrong. How long before someone has their house robbed and the thief says “the door was open, it had to be ok, I learned that from the internet.”? And gets away with it! :imp:

I wasn’t suggesting that it is not wrong, just that from the students’ perspective they could see it as the same either way:
a) They borrow it from the internet, renew it, and return it at the end of the semester when they are done with it;
b) They download it from the Internet, use it for the semester, and then delete it;
c) They search further on the Internet until they find the information elsewhere, use that information for the semester, and then delete it.

It just so happens that (a) and © are legal, and (b) is not. But many students see it as the same end result - they use the information for a limited time frame, keep nothing afterwards, and the author gets nothing for it*.

The point to them is that they are not going to buy the book regardless, in any situation, no matter what. Once that is decided, they are going to get the information some other way. And then, to them, downloading a pirated version of the book seems the same as borrowing it from the library: they pay nothing and the author gets nothing. It is just that the pirated version is more convenient.

I am not saying I agree with that, or think it is right. I am just saying that I know many students with that mindset, and I can understand how it works even if I don’t agree with it.

The problem is, most people still baulk at the idea of paying for information. You can’t own information or copyright information (generally speaking, we’ll forget patents for now), just the way that information is presented. And people therefore don’t like to pay for information they can obtain elsewhere for free.

The difference between that and the batman movie is that you cannot legally see the batman movie for free, anywhere. In either case it is wrong to illegally copy/download it. But I think the mindset of people downloading batman is different.

The “you” in my example was the copyright holder. I should have been more clear about that.

I’m a student myself (Musicology and Anglophone Languages) and I must say I’m quite outrated on the prices of textbooks, too. There is just no real reason why a 100 page reader printed on very bad paper in black and white with ink fading when one single sunbeam touches it has to cost 10€. The professors already have enough money, I don’ t think they should rip off students who happen to usually have very little money.
“Real” textbooks on the other hand… of course it is a limited target group these books are aiming at, but in general you only need textboks for 2 to 3 weeks when writing a term paper. So I walk to the library and borrow it… or I would, because 50 people in my seminar have to write a term paper and 50 people need that book. But the university only has 2 copies in the library. Instead of buying actual stuff, they use the money to make new advertising campaigns to get more students (we are 35000 students in a university built for 15000).
So now I do not get that book. Unfortunately for me, the books I require are not available online, so I have to wait until someone has returned that book and get bad graded because I only had two days to write my term paper.
Oh, by the way: I have never, ever done any “midget throwing contests”. I certainly drink beer, but as this isn’t expensive I can’t see how it should interfere with my book purchasing decisions. I probably am the only student in univertity actually paying for the software I use and I have spent huge amounts of money on textbooks - but the fact is that I am fortunate enough to have several jobs which allow me to buy some things. Others don’t. Whether they don’t because they are lazy (they most of the time are indeed) or out of other reasons is another case.
Please remember: Students do not choose their subjects. There are a lot of topics I’d rather like to write about than “Balley in Africa - African Raindance and its cultural significance to wartribes”. But I have to. Do you really expect me to buy a textbook für 100€ I will only use once and never again look at it? Do you actually expect I find these things fun to read when the first sentence in EVERY book is “Internet is bad. Wikipeda is bad. There happen to be a few good thing on the internet even though professors do not believe so.
The best is the copyright notice on my purchased book, I nust checked a few of them: “Do not steal. Do not do anything. Don’t even read it!”. Hey, I f****** bought this book (sorry for the choice of words). Don’t tell ME that.”. By the way I know I must not copy anything. I really know and I don’t. But when a book is not available in the library, I have no choice. My professor wants that term paper. And I hope you do not expect me to really buy a book I need 1 (one) qoute from.
You’re all writers and are probably quite rich. If you can afford dozens of 100€ books a term, good for you.
Sorry for my rambling, I’m just terribly angered of how students all “drink, throw parties, never work, have 1 hour lessons per week, never work anything, do not want to take a job, …”. It just isn’t true.

That is extremely unlikely. Most authors make very little money from their books and have to supplement their income elsewhere. I doubt writers of academic books get a much better deal. When people choose not to purchase a book, for whatever reason (and most of the reasons are perfectly valid), the author of the book suffers.

Correct, of course. With the exception of one or two “stars” in a few disciplines (e.g. Porter and Peters in Management), academic writers have to be in it for glory not gold. (Academic publishers may be a different matter - see Pearson’s recent profits announcement.)

Generally I think all published writers are going to have to face the fact that soon with words, as today with moving pictures and music, whatever can be digitised can be copied and pirated very widely. Maybe not tomorrow, but probably the day after. (Today - people say “But Sting can afford it” - despite all those low-paid technicians behind him, and the average full-time musicians who’ll never get a tour to Manchester let alone Madison Square Garden and whose average full-time earnings are something like £12,000 p.a. One day soon - “But Stephen King can afford it”? - :imp: )

Factual- and fiction-authoring as a performance art, anyone?
What can Dickens teach us? :confused:


And Clemens. Let’s not forget this side of the pond :wink:

But then we have added a new element here, art (we seem to have this discussion quite a bit on this forum). Are we writing “art” that can be consumed in the manner of Dickens and Clemens, or even Dale Carnegie? Sting, U2, Madonna, Spice Girls, Dylan, the Beetles, Ansel Adams, Norman Rockefeller, S, King, Rollings, and all the other “famous” ones managed to pull it off. Out of all the folks listed (especially the musicians) not a single one was “the best” at what they did. I will say the same of the authors. They are not “the best”, they are able to market their product.

And this is where I beleive we begin to see the first sign of the real problem.

This is about consumer backlash. They/we are tired of making marketing people rich. We hear the “great artists” constantly say they are not making money, while the marketers get richer and richer. We see that the historically “great artists” (like those mentioned above) are not great when compared to the kid down the street, yet the kid is stuck in his garage. Is he lazy? Incompetent? A misfit who can not send an introduction letter? No. He is just not “marketable” in the eyes of the few people in control.

I am not sure why we (I throw myself in here as a musician) expect the consumers to bend to our market demands. Last time I checked the capitalist society that most of us are in requires us to bend to meet them. If we want their money then we need to convince them to fork it over. KB has managed to convince all (or at least most of us) on this forum by producing, delivering, and supporting a product that we “can live without”. We as artists need to do the same.

Once we meet our customers on their terms then we wont “get ripped off”.

[size=75]Yes I understand the “benefits” of the publisher. Yes I know that there are established methods of media delivery (stores etc). Yes, yes, yes. Maybe we need to innovate instead of following the other lemmings.

And yes I know it is easy for me to say this with an income that allows my music and writing to be a hobby. But if you want my money you will meet me where I am.[/size]

Since each of you are authors why should you get paid for your writing if most people are only going to read it once? Why should they pay for your book that you spent all that time writing if they are only going to read it once? Why should people pay to see a movie if they are only going to watch it once?
It should be free right?

Why should students pay for class? They are only going to learn it once. Why should teachers get paid since most students won’t even use what they learn?

Since I am eating that steak only once why should I have to pay for it? WHy should I have to pay for that drink since I will only drink it once?

Simple. Because a lot of effort and time went into bringing you the completed product. Even if you are only going to use it once it. The same theory applies to text books.

So if it is Ok to “steal a text book” (Use a copy the author didn’t get paid for) then the statement you are making is it is OK to steal. So if I broke into your house and stole everything you had you should not be the slightest bt upset because after all I am only going to sell it once.

Another argument is that if it is “stolen” then resold that is wrong BUT if it is “stolen” just to use once then that is ok. But if someone stole your car and took it for a joy ride I am willing to bet that would be considered “stealing”.

Jaysen as to your sidewalk theory there is only one problem.

Sidewalk sales. I see companies have sidewalk sales all the time. Does that mean I can walk off with whatever I want without having to pay for it and not be committing a crime?

If I leave my car in a public place with the engine running and the door open is it ok for someone else to drive off with it or is that car theft?

Now when it comes to music the kicker is this. Artists do not make the majority of their money from album sales but rather by licensing and rights ownership. Technically anytime a song is played (longer than 29 seconds) on the radio, in public, over the internet, broadcasting, etc the Rights owners should receive a royalities of about 6 cents per play (licensing for commercials, soundtracks etc fall under different agreements). That is divided up by the rights owners (usually label and recording artists/songwriter). This is how the majority of people in the music business make a paycheck.

Now where people miss the concept is when they purchase something they think they own it. Nope. Not really.

When you buy a book you did NOT purchase the copyright therefore the copyright holder still owns the “work” you are merely “licensing” the work by purchasing a copy. You are aslo instructed that you are NOT ALLOWED to make any copies (analog or digital) of the copyrighted works without WRITTEN PERMISSION (coming under agreement) by doing otherwise you VIOLATE the law.
Now if you download a copyrighted piece of artwork the same still applies. It is a protected piece of work (that is what the law is for) and is so done to protect the rights of the creator.

What stops one from plagerisim?
Why can I NOT claim I wrote the Shining? or collect proceeds.

If you wrote a book would you be upset if someone stole your manuscript and published it under their name and got paid for your hard work?

What protects you? Copyright Law?

So if you willing break that law when it applies to other authors of work wouldn’t it be hypocritical if happened to you and you got upset?

In basic terms stealing is stealing. It is not ok.
Now the flexibility in certain situations does come into effect.

ONe example. It is illegal t make copies of copyrighted books without written permission but yet the most popular place for xerox machines is the library.

Some new upcoming artists would rather their works get spread across the internet for free to get exposure so they “allow” free distribution of copyrighted works. They encourage it.

But in the end if you are obtaining a copy of a textbook and NOT paying for it you are making sure the AUTHOR is not receiving their cut. So you are stealing from the Author of that book. ALso in doing so you are making it LESS profitable so what happens to textbooks? The PRICES GO UP.

Ever wonder why Retail stores spend so much on security? No it is not about losing immediate profits because they pass the cost onto the customer.

The do it because shoplifting drives the price of all the GOODS up and causes the chain to have to raise prices in order to profit. By cutting down on what is stolen they can keep the prices LOW and make themselves more available to a broader range of customers and be more competitive in pricing.

Students wonder why the cost of text books has risen so sharply. Ask yourself this question. What book is most often “stolen”

A textbook.

PS: The RIAA are a bunch of greedy !@#$% and abuse the copyright allowances for their own miserable ends.

They screwed Recording artists when it came to custom ringtones. Ringtones last years was a business of over 9 BILLION dollars. The RIAA went to court and fought to make sure that since ringtones were only “snippets” (less than 30 seconds) of a song that the Original Artist DID NOT DESERVE ROYALTIES and felt they could keep all the proceeds for themselves.

They won.

So anytime you hear a ring tone that is “sold” know this. Some RIAA jerk-wad in a suit just made some money but the actual artists that made the song didn’t make a dime.

RIAA are evil, self serving, and very bad.

Wock you must be joking to even suggest that the poem sebbi wrote on a sidewalk is remotely like a shirt being sold on a rack at a sidewalk sale or any of your other examples.

I never suggested that what consumers is doing is RIGHT. What Gandhi or Martin Luther King or even Martin Luther did was “wrong” by the standards of their time. And those guys were “right” in what they did.

A more accurate illustration of what we are seeing in the marketplace is the American Revolution. You remember that right? Started with a bunch of “corporate pigs”* inflating prices and manipulating a the legal system to their advantage. Next thing you know you have a bunch of consumers pissed off and ILLEGALLY taking action. Things like dumping boat loads of product in to the sea. Oh by the way much of it never hit the sea, but showed up in peoples home. As in STOLEN. Repeat this scene a number of times until we see these guys in red coats protecting shipments.

Sound familiar? Looks exactly like what is happening in publishing today. Be it music, written works, or film, the people are rebelling (that would be the “backlash” I talked about).

My point is that we need to change the model to meet demands. the consumer is done. They don’t care about the law. they don’t care about the “artist”. they care about their pocket book. If we provide the product they want in a form they like and at a price they deem reasonable they will pay.

If you don’t believe me explain iTunes Store.

  • Used to make a point not my opinion of the UK.

What saddens me about all this: is how brilliantly it illustrates, just how easily, mighty mountains can be swept aside in the protection the profit margins, but, how seeming insurmountable or un-scalable, the smallest of molehills tend to become, when promoting and protecting the sanctity of life, and the means of alleviating suffering.
Take care


I think you and I may be closer in our opinions on this than either of us (or anyone else) may care to admit. While I believe that everyone should have the opportunity to earn money I am angered by how much corporations get away with. Take the current US banking fiasco. Why is my tax money going to the richest of the rich when there is a family of 4 down the road where both parents just lost their home to bankruptcy caused by a medical disaster (he was injured at work, she had to take care of him and was fired).

Anyway … back to our regularly scheduled harassment of each other.

People always want to make better wages so they can have a better living and give a better life to their family. What is the difference between a person asking for higher wages and a corporation raising the prices?
Simple. If you get higher wages you have more money. If a company raises prices it costs you more money.

One is good!

One is BAD!

Good is when you stick it to someone else! (You make a profit)

Bad is when you are the one getting stuck! (Your costs rise)

How do some people cut costs? They steal. They justify circumventing the system to obtain a product or service for free instead of having to pay for it like everyone else.

What do people do if they are stolen from or taken advantage of? Cry foul!

At what part in that cycle do they realize they are a hypocrite? They usually don’t. They come up with an excuse.

An excuse that excuses them from the basic rules and laws other people follow. Excuses like

“It cost too much.”
“I can’t help myself.”
“The owner has more money than me so can afford to replace it.”
“She was dressed provocatively so she was asking for it, she deserved it.”
“I didn’t like the way he/she looked so I killed him/her.”
“I got tired of the baby always crying.”
“I can;t have kids and they didn’t want this one.”
“Everyone else was doing it.”
“They didn’t belong here so I burned down their house. So what they can build another somewhere else.”
“She didn’t listen so I beat some sense into her.”

The list can go on for miles but it really boils down to one thing.

BEFORE the person did they knew it was wrong but CHOSE to do it anyway because it was the most convenient and profitable choice for them.

Corporations and Governments are run by people. It is not faceless entities making these ruthless decisions. It is people just like us.

HOw can we condemn their actions if we are doing the same and justifying it?

No the question asked is how come we get caught and are punished for it and they usually get off scott free.


They have more money than you and because of that they can stick it to you easier than you can stick it to them.

Stick it to tha man!

Wait! what if you are the man?


Im not knocking intellectual property rights/copyright payment, or the profit motivation, involved in manufacturing and the provision of services. Its the iniquity, inherent in the Free Trade global economy, for example, as its being pursued at present. Its so blatantly: profit first (the bigger the better), people second. In the, 'Grand Scheme of Things’ generally speaking, ‘Profit rules’, people can go whistle!

It`s very dispiriting sometimes.
Take care

You should never get dispirited my little three legged Pirate Wonder!
The true spirit of a Pirate never fails when faced with a “suit” but rather you should be rattling your saber and screaming Yarrghhhh!

My only point is

“You can defy and even defeat an enemy without ever having to become just like the enemy.”
- Wock [size=50]©2008 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED[/size]


Talk about wealthy. Look at this! A 44 pound cat looking for a home! (Princess Chunk)

Now how can a cat get to be 44 pounds and then need a home?

Did this cat eat the owners out of house and home or did this cat actually eat its previous owners? … 122221.htm

Actually I think this cat has eaten the whole internet or has been downloading food when no one was looking. :slight_smile:

good lord!! She`s my double. :open_mouth: Facially that is :wink: