Poorly-selling authors probably don't get their books pirated that often, is my guess...
Speaking for the struggling authors, I'm with the Neil. Sharing good, greed bad. What copyrights are really out there for is to keep our work from being distorted and sold by third parties. If you're reading my stuff, feel free to share. If you're selling my stuff, I demand my cut. If you're editing my stuff, I demand the right to sign off on it.
Actually, slashdot has links to articles about how Internet Piracy actually increase total sales for foreign anime shows.

Torrent is your friend, not you animaniac.
I read webcomics every day. Seriously, like 15-20 every day. I have a nice Favorites folder for them so I don't forget to read them everyday.
When there is a particular comic I enjoy, I choose to support that author by buying their compilations and merch. (Favorite piece of merch: HeavilyArmed Octopus:… , I bought it for a friend and he loves it.)
And everyone should be reading A Girl and Her Fed, cause it's a great story.
I'm with Neil. The cream rises as they say, so no author should be afraid of sharing, unless they don't think very highly of their own work.
poorly-selling authors should write better books.
And since nobody reads what poorly-selling authors have to write, I imagine the "backlash" will be more of an uptick in laudanum sales.
Neil Gaiman is absolutely right, so I don't think you're going to see much of a backlash from working writers. Traditional copyright law does not serve the interests of authors. The interesting question, the important question, is what customs or agreements will serve the interests of authors? Creative Commons has a few good solutions (flexible copyright language). Publication Studio adds two more: non-exclusive contracts (publishers contract for the right to publish an edition of a work, but don't prevent the writer from also working with others); and the pledge to not profit at the expense of the writer (all profits split equally). I'd love to see a public forum about these questions with some industry innovators like Richard Nash. That would be real change.
Funny how it seems like sci-fi/fantasy/speculative fic/etc authors are the ones who get this a lot more than mainstream ones ... hell, a whole publisher, Baen, gets it & puts a decent number of books/segments free online.…

when I started there I thought I'd never have to buy a book again, Seven years later here I am. Sending books abroad, getting books from places I'll never be able to visit, buying to share, buying more because I want to keep the books.
This isn't a new statement on Gaiman's part - he's been saying the exact same thing ("Who has a favourite author? Who discovered that author by being leant a book?") in speeches and Q and As for years. (At least since British Eastercon in April 2008, when I heard it, and that probably wasn't the first time.)
Enh, I'm a rabid Gaiman fangirl and I think he's wrong on this one. I think sure, ten years ago loaning a single physical copy from a print run could make people fall in love with the author and buy their hardbacks, instead of waiting for paperback/library copy, etc. He's also ignoring the fact that the initial book being lent had to have been bought at one point, and can only be lent out to one person at a time. More lending? You buy more books!

Now we have people downloading an illegal copy that was never paid for, falling in love with the author and downloading the next one when it comes out instead of paying for hardback. Some of them may eventually buy an ebook or a paperback, but in the meantime the hardback sells for shit, the author's next advance is lower, his sales records are crap so the chains buy fewer, and if the same thing happens again next book... there isn't another one.

Authors don't usually make money, period, but the money they make is off the book. There's nothing like merch or a tour to fill in the missing income from piracy.

Publishing needs to figure out what to do about this fast, because as much as I disagree with it, e-book piracy isn't going to go away. In the meantime, I don't think authors like Gaiman who can take the hit are necessarily the ones who should determine if it's doing any damage.
The same thing happened with the printing press, they outlawed printing letters in the hopes of ending piracy. We gave up that battle just like we'll eventually give up this model. The people in power are already panicking, they're getting desperate and they don't have much time left. Once everyone on the planet has access to a 100/10mbit connection it's totally game over. They're try to stop that too, it's really just cute.
Hey, folks, nice to see the center of gravity of the conversation shift from a focus on property rights (which takes for granted something is valuable) to discoverability (how does my work gain value). I am talking on these topics a lot in the next couple of weeks, though at very insider-y conferences—as Matthew points out, it really needs to be a conversation conducted on a much bigger and more open and public scale. Though it also needs businesses conducted on these more open principles, like what Matthew is doing and what I'm doing too...

Please wait...

Comments are closed.

Commenting on this item is available only to members of the site. You can sign in here or create an account here.

Add a comment

By posting this comment, you are agreeing to our Terms of Use.