Tag Archives: Cory Doctorow

cory doctorow & john scalzi & others discuss SFWA & ‘piracy’

cory doctorow writes about SFWA’s ongoing campaign against copyright infringement (Why writers should stop worrying about “ebook piracy”– boingboing 5/14)

cory also cited from & linked to john scalzi writing about the same thing (The Stupidity of Worrying About Piracy 5/13).

personally, i much appreciated john’s description of how he feels about readers who can’t pay — borrowers rather than thieves:

Who are pirates? They are people who won’t pay for things (i.e., dickheads), or they’re people who can’t pay for things (i.e., cash-strapped college students and others). …

As for the people who can’t pay for things, well, look. I grew up poor and made music tapes off the radio; my entire music collection from ages 11 to 14 consisted of tapes that had songs missing their first ten seconds and whose final ten seconds had DJ chatter on them; from 14 to 18, I taped off my friends; from 18 to 22 I reviewed music so I could get it for free. And then after that, once I had money, I bought my music. Because I could. As for books, I bought secondhand paperbacks through my teen and college years. Now I buy hardbacks. Again, because I can. Now, being a writer, you can argue that I’m more self-interested in paying for creative work than others, but I have to honestly say that I don’t know anyone who can pay for a book or a CD or a DVD or whatever who doesn’t, far more often than not.

I don’t see the people who can’t pay as pirates. I see them as people who will pay, once they can. Until then, I think of it as I’m floating them a loan. Nor is it an entirely selfless act. I’m cultivating a reader — someone who thinks of books as a legitimate form of entertainment — and since I want to be a writer until I croak, that’s a good investment for me. More specifically, I’m cultivating a reader of me, someone who will at some point in the future see a book of mine of the shelf, go “Scalzi! I love that dude!” and then take the book off the shelf and take it to the register.

i haven’t read his books but i love that dude!

and then john’s posting was followed by many comments from other writers … among them, scott westerfeld … which led me to scott westerfeld’s new blog. scott posted (without worrying about copyright violations!) on his blog a copy of a letter from a reader who sent him a “token of appreciation” after reading his novel in a bookstore. then scott discussed his feelings on sharing (okay) and mass for-profit reproduction (not okay) and reminded us all that writers are not the whole industry, that publishers and editors and libraries need love too.

… and it all led me to hilary rosen (!) complaining about DRM! consumer unfriendly, she says. user unfriendly. irony is not dead, after all.