Tuesday, October 5, 2010

This is Wise and Awesome

Y'all know that I've had conflicted feelings about free downloading of media. I think the Creative Commons License is a wonderful thing, and I think Cory Doctorow is simply brilliant.

But I also think that the Creative Commons License is a choice, and Cory himself admits that his way of releasing his titles online for free isn't a way that will work for every author.

I'm fairly sure that for some people, a free download will convince them to make a sale. I downloaded Cory's LITTLE BROTHER, and then promptly bought it and started recommending it to friends. I--like many other of Cory's fans--look at free downloading as a sample, or a free trial--and if I like it, I buy it.

But there are some people who consider free downloading as a right.  They think it's perfectly fine to have any media for free. If it can be downloaded, it should be, and it should be for free. These people are book pirates.

For me, there's the issue of intention with free downloads. Do you intend to buy the product if you like it? Or do you intend to download it with the express purpose of not buying it? There's a big difference of people in there, and unfortunately, I think the majority are the latter, not the former.

It's a difference of attitude. And it's as hard to compromise the attitude as it is to convince a Republican to be a Democrat, or a Yankees fan to like the Red Sox, or a vegetarian to eat a chicken McNugget.

But I think Jackson Pierce is doing a good job of trying:


Anonymous said...

I tend to agree with you. Most of my downloads are music, and I've only once gone outside of iTunes. A friend turned me on to some foreign-run site that sells music on the super-cheap. Only thing is, I'm pretty sure the artists don't get a dime from the sales.

Is it legal? In the country of incorporation, sure. Is it ethical? *I* don't think so. I cancelled that account. I'd prefer to monetarily support creative people rather than suck the life out of them with illegal/unethical downloading.

Then hopefully people will do the same for me someday.

Misha Gerrick said...

I agree. I used to be a huge pirate, but when I started to seriously write, I realized how little I would like it if I got no money for my ideas and so I now avoid all forms of free media downloads.

Great post. :-)

Lindsay said...

I would hate being in the situation where this would happen to me if my books ever get published. As a result I won't illegally download.

Great post.

Katie Anderson said...

Whoa. Very interesting. Sadly, I didn't even know this went on...

kah said...

I love downloading samples on my Kindle, but if I'm hooked I'm buying the real book. Part of that is because I'd want people to do the same for my book someday (if any ever get published) and also because I love having a real book in my hand, and how pretty they all look on my bookshelves. :)

lotusgirl said...

It's scary to realize how easy it is for people to download pirated books. There needs to be a push against it like there is for movies. I'm sure there are a lot of people who don't realize it's wrong or don't think about the ramifications of their actions. Actual writers think about it as indicated in the comments here. We need to figure out the best way to help readers think about it.

Shannon O'Donnell said...

You are exactly right, Beth, and I agree with you. I've never had a conscience that could tolerate any kind of free downloading - it just feels wrong to me.

Matthew MacNish said...

The thing that is so twisted about about all this free downloading of media - of whatever kind - is that if you really like the song or book or movie, how can you possibly expect the creator to be able to afford to create more cool stuff if you don't financially support them?

I'll admit I download some music for free sometimes, but only if I already own it (I own about 2500 vinyl records, so I probably own it), but if I discover a new artist I make sure to buy the record (preferably), or the CD (if necessary), because if I want to hear more I really ought to pay for it. The same is true with any creative media.

Kelsey (Dominique) Ridge said...

Oh, the brilliance!

These are rationalizations, not reasons. And this is why rationalizations are the magic that lets the world go 'round. People can't survive without them.
That doesn't make them true.

Susan Kaye Quinn said...

Can't agree with you more! Long before I was a writer, I was very much against piracy. Just a stickler for that moral/ethical thing - and I think that's really the only way to fight piracy as well. Moral pressure. So keep it on! :)