My recent concerns about protecting my books against assorted forms of piracy are increasing at more news of electronic innovations. First there were Google Books, somewhat restricted by publishers fighting to protect copyrights, then there was an outfit that libraries subscribe to for downloads of novels, next Kindle 2 added audio capacity (thereby cancelling an author's option to sell audio rights), and today I came across SCRIB'D, which appears to be a member web site where people can upload and download novels and other books for free.
Does anyone know anything about this and how it works?

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I can offer an interesting observation.

I have a friend who is a musician in a punk rock band that has gained a certain level of popularity. They've been at it about 10 years and they've released a few CDs, and the most recent broke into the top 40. In the states, they play to about 5,000 and to large crowds in Europe.

My friend commented that 10 years ago, they were all about sharing the songs. Download them, email them, give them away. Anything for publicity's sake. I mean, they encouraged bootlegging, burning copies of CD's, etc. Heck, they gave away CDs at their shows.

About 3 weeks ago, I was chatting with him and he was just going off about file sharing and free downloads and how much it was costing his band in lost revenue. He referred to some file sharing program called Limewire as something akin to an evil empire since people share music and other files for free via the program. I remember thinking "my how the times have changed."

Of course I'm reminded of buying a cassette tape (yes, we're talking like 25 years ago) released by the punk band Dead Kennedys. One side had music. Flip it over and printed on the tape was "Home recording is killing the music industry. We left this side blank so you can help."

The industry is going to have to stay on its toes. Doesn't matter what anyone says, some clever kid will figure out how upload your novel for free. And just like the music industry, the publishing industry will have to be aggressive combating it, but I don't think they will ever stamp it out completely.

Heck, we live in an age where if you look hard enough you can download and watch movies not yet released in theaters.

It is something we are all going to have to deal with.
Excellent points all!
That's funny that a supposedly "punk" rocker is complaining about lost revenue.

I wonder though, without limewire and other such services, would the musician's band have had the recognition to fill shows?

There's a Japanese band I like a lot called "Dir en grey". They're one of the most popular rock bands in Japan. Anyway, until a couple years ago, they only played shows in Japan and other parts of Asia. Through internet piracy, their work spread through Europe and the States and they gained a following. I've imported all their albums, but you can bet that many fans just downloaded the albums. No loss to the band, since they were never marketing to these people anyway. But every imported album is a sale, and more importantly, a fan base was created.

They became popular enough to tour in the states as a supporting act, and eventually began headlining. Now they sell out shows in both the U.S. and in Europe by themselves. Without file sharing, Dir en grey never would have been able to build up such a large fan base throughout the world. Now they are touring more venues, and musicians have always made more money from touring than album sales anyway, so that is a big deal.

Some other Japanese bands are following in Dir en grey's footsteps, and none of this would have happened without illegal file sharing.

We can talk about the moral issue of file sharing easily; that's a clear cut issue. But from a business standpoint, I just haven't seen any evidence that it actually hurts artists. But I have heard seen/heard a lot of anecdotal evidence where it has helped artists. Even your anecdote, you've said the band is playing to large crowds in the States and in Europe and their last album broke the top 40. Not exactly what I would call a struggling artist.
No they certainly aren't struggling anymore. And as far as them being punk, that is the category they were assigned by the record label (another parallel to publishing?) and they often refer to themselves as an "old punk rock band" but, you know, my mother enjoys some of their songs, so how punk can they really be?

And you just HAVE to think that everything from file sharing, to actually encouraging bootlegging, helped them grow their fan base - that and the some 300 shows a year they still do (just hand me my heart attack now).

If a kid downloads a song for free off Limewire, listens to it and enjoys it, then he goes out and buys a CD or two, and plunks down $30 (the approximate ticket price for my friend's band) to see a concert (where he might buy a T-shirt or other merchandise, too), then that free song was effective marketing, no?

Even in my industry, newspapers, we sometimes do what I call "sampling." Essentially, I send a free mini-subscription (maybe a couple weeks) to a non-subscriber in hopes of gaining them as a subscriber. It's pretty effective and the only reason I don't do more is there are limits established by circulation audit bureaus. The web is a different beastie all together, but not really an apples to apples comparison.

And trust me, the thought that my friend's "punk rock" band has developed a very efficient business model, which seems odd for punk, didn't escape me. Of course, for music, the amazing thing is how little a band actually makes off of a sold CD. You need it for radio play (my friend's band gets zero radio play, even though they cracked Billboard's Top 40 in album sales), and you do get some distribution fees....but their big money is performing live.

Makes me wonder if "giving away" short stories might be an effective marketing tool for selling a novel?

Hmm...now if I could just get that darned novel published....

Now, I know this is somewhat different, but several years ago, I worked for a magazine doing celebrity interviews. Many of the articles appeared on the magazine's web site, and one suddenly "appeared" in a fanzine down in Australia. There was no agreement between my magazine and the fanzine, nor me and the fanzine, and to be honest, I'm still fairly sore over the fact that I did not get paid for that. Of course, being that far away, I think the magazine sent a "dont' do that again" letter, but that was the extent of it. Now I'll be aggravated thinking about that the next couple hours.
Well, giving away entire novels for free worked for Paulo Coelho: http://torrentfreak.com/alchemist-author-pirates-own-books-080124/

Also works for Cory Doctorow: http://www.forbes.com/2006/11/30/cory-doctorow-copyright-tech-media...
Easy enough to do via your web site. Keep in mind that it compromises future sales to publishers who insist on first rights.
The free or bootleg music has created so many law suits, how can you say it is good for the industry. The industry itself has published how that practice has decreased sales. Decreased sales = less money for bands. Yes, you can always find exceptions, but those exception have stolen dollars from legitimate bands.

Free download of movies = loss of revenue = fewer movies. Look at the movie industry over the last five years. They are hurting, making fewer big budget films, shutting down splinter film production divisions. The result over the long term...no more movies.

Books...for 6 months last year, our stores reduced the selling price by 20%. The business logic was to encourage more sales. The reality, we sold the exact number of books as the previous fiscal, except we lost $200,000 in profit. People are animals of habit. A person who reads four books a month, reads four books a month. Give them two books a month free, and they will buy two instead of four. A single author will gain (the one giving away the product). The rest of the authors and the industry as a whole will lose. Go ahead, provide thousands of free books online. Net result in the long run...no more book sales....no revenue. Before long authors will turn their skills to arenas where they will get paid...the result...no more books. God bless the internet!
Your first paragraph is not convincing at all. Off course the industry is complaining about it. Does that make it true? Don't you see a conflict of interest there? Isn't is possible that the industry (and by that we're talking about the RIAA for music and the MPAA for movies) is trying to find a scapegoat? Those lawsuits you have referred to haven't solved anything, which is why the RIAA is putting a stop to these lawsuits.

And my examples are the exceptions, right? That's what everyone says. Oh, you can always find exceptions. You're right. The question is: Can you ever find the rule? I listed three "exceptions" off the top of my head (Dir en grey, Cory Doctorow, and Paulo Coelho). I can't think of one example of an artist who has been hurt by either file sharing or giving away his/her work for free.

But I'm sure you can, since people benefiting from this is the exception. So if these are the exceptions, then there must be a huge amount of examples of those who have been hurt by it. You should be able to rattle off a dozen examples, easily, without even thinking about it. So let's have it.

Can you name me five examples of artists who have been hurt by either file sharing or giving away their work for free? And I'm not talking about industry figures. I gave three anecdotes of artists who have benefited. Can you give me five anecdotes of artists who have been harmed by it? Can anyone? You should be able to easily if you claim mine are exceptions.

Furthermore, your position is based on an assumption that just might be wrong: that a free download equals a lost sale.

There's evidence that it doesn't. Here's a NYT article on it, and here is the study in question (PDF file): http://www.unc.edu/~cigar/papers/FileSharing_March2004.pdf .

A judge has even ruled that a free download does not equal a lost sale: http://www.p2pnet.net/story/18189.

Also, trade groups such as the RIAA and the MPAA perhaps shouldn't be trusted as a source of objective information, probably because they're not objective: http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/news/2008/01/oops-mpaa-admits-co....

Your bookstore anecdote shows that you lost money, but it's not evidence that file sharing is responsible for it. There's a lot of factors that influence sales. So what makes you so sure it's file sharing and not a combination of factors? It isn't simple to determine how much one thing contributes to sales.

File sharing is not a big issue with books right now anyway. Yes, it does happen, but not on anywhere the large scale that it does with music and movies. Bookstores may be hurting, but I don't think anyone who is honest will seriously make the case that file sharing is the reason for it. Maybe in the future when ebooks become popular bookstores can make that case, but not now. It just doesn't happen as much. Look at the last Harry Potter book. It sold pretty well, yet there are copies of it floating around on the internet.

I just haven't heard of any artist losing their ability to continue their art or be harmed at all because of file sharing or giving away their work for free. I've heard people address fears of it. I've never seen a news story like: Author calls it quits because she can't make money anymore because of file sharing, or Musician dropped from label because CD sales can't compete with piracy. I've never seen anything remotely like that.

If file sharing is significantly hurting the industry, then I am willing to admit that. But show me the evidence. I haven't seen any yet. I think if we want to really get to the bottom of this issue then we need to stop regurgitating trade group talking points and start doing some research and learning for ourselves what actually happens rather than just assume we know what is happening.
This isn't the correct place for a debate. If it weren't for the boost American Idol gave the record industry, the industry total sales would be in the pits. The movie industry is still hurting, and without the popularity of the comic book movie, they would be devastated. Look at the total gross numbers, sales by industry numbers. Everyone in these industries is hurting. The finger always points to piracy and free /cheap offerings. The book industry is just starting to get hit with the same quandry.

In the long term it will suffer, but people want their profits now and don't care what happens in ten years. Well ten years roll around pretty fast. Look at the car in your driveway.

Smiles
Bob
A forum isn't the correct place for a debate? Also, what you say I do not believe is true, and without some supporting evidence, I won't. If you can't debate me, that's fine, but I encourage you if you really care about this issue to look into it on your own and come to your own conclusions and don't just accept what the RIAA and MPAA say, because they never reveal how they got their numbers, so why accept what they say at face value? Read the articles I linked to for a start if you want.

oh, by the way, my car is a 1992 Mercury Sable wagon and it runs great.
LOL, that's more than ten years. It's for discussions. We were approaching debate.

Just an fyi cut from http://online.wsj.com/public/article/SB117444575607043728-oEugjUqEt... which is a slow site.

By Etahn Smith....

In a dramatic acceleration of the seven-year sales decline that has battered the music industry, compact-disc sales for the first three months of this year plunged 20% from a year earlier, the latest sign of the seismic shift in the way consumers acquire music.

The sharp slide in sales of CDs, which still account for more than 85% of music sold, has far eclipsed the growth in sales of digital downloads, which were supposed to have been the industry's salvation.

The slide stems from the confluence of long-simmering factors that are now feeding off each other, including the demise of specialty music retailers like longtime music mecca Tower Records. About 800 music stores, including Tower's 89 locations, closed in 2006 alone.

Apple Inc.'s sale of around 100 million iPods shows that music remains a powerful force in the lives of consumers. But because of the Internet, those consumers have more ways to obtain music now than they did a decade ago, when walking into a store and buying it was the only option.

Today, popular songs and albums -- and countless lesser-known works -- can be easily found online, in either legal or pirated forms. While the music industry hopes that those songs will be purchased through legal services like Apple's iTunes Store, consumers can often listen to them on MySpace pages or download them free from other sources, such as so-called MP3 blogs. ....

-----------------------

Yes, the entire industry is hurting...3 exceptions and thousands of artists suffering.

Smiles
Bob
All that article says is that music stores' sales are down. It doesn't provide any evidence that file sharing is responsible. In fact file sharing is only mentioned briefly. Is file sharing responsible for the reduced sale? Maybe. But that article is not evidence of that. And it definitely isn't evidence that artists were hurt at all, only music stores. But I was talking about file sharing perhaps being beneficial to artists.

What if CD sales are down, but overall profits (for artists) are up? Musicians make more money from touring than album sales, always have.

Thousands of artists are suffering...yet you can't name me one.

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