Author Topic: How is using the library different than digital piracy?  (Read 33819 times)

GuitarStv

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How is using the library different than digital piracy?
« on: August 06, 2014, 05:56:27 PM »
You get your book, CD, or movie for no cost.  The artist is not paid for your usage of the material.  Nothing is stolen in either scenario.

The only real difference I can see is that at some point the library has to buy a copy of the media . . . But so does the first guy to rip something.  Is it only that using the library is slightly more inconvenient that makes it acceptable?

Left

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Re: How is using the library different than digital piracy?
« Reply #1 on: August 06, 2014, 06:00:31 PM »
libraries have to buy the item/right to use it... and the item can only be shared one at a time and gets returned

1st guy to rip it buys it sure, but then he shares it with everyone at once and it doesn't stop

GuitarStv

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Re: How is using the library different than digital piracy?
« Reply #2 on: August 06, 2014, 06:05:02 PM »
Sure, but realistically . . . Most movies and books get watched/read once.  Loaning it out for one use isn't different than downloading it in this perspective.  I guess people would have to wait longer with the library . . . Which ties back to the inconvenience . . .

scrubbyfish

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Re: How is using the library different than digital piracy?
« Reply #3 on: August 06, 2014, 06:09:27 PM »
Thanks for this thread.

I share this concern, though also see eyem's reasoning that one pirated copy may be leaked to far more people.

For some reason, I was for ages under the impression that authors receive a small royalty (like, 10 cents) every time the book is borrowed so I felt okay about it. I only recently learned this isn't the case and was horrified. The book is purchased once -at a steep discount, no less- and the author is not paid again. I'm trying to figure out how to reconcile this issue, especially as most of my own income is from writing. I feel sick about it. I try to promote the books I love/get anything from, and when I'm rich I will send lots of authors cheques for the book's full market value. That's all I've got so far :(

Spork

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Re: How is using the library different than digital piracy?
« Reply #4 on: August 06, 2014, 06:24:03 PM »

One word: permission.

Whether the author gets paid or not by a library ...  the distribution rights allow the author to allow (or not) how the copyrighted work is distributed. 

fixer-upper

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Re: How is using the library different than digital piracy?
« Reply #5 on: August 06, 2014, 06:32:16 PM »
Copyright limits the ability to make copies.  The library doesn't make copies, while the pirates do.


saralibrarian

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Re: How is using the library different than digital piracy?
« Reply #6 on: August 06, 2014, 06:38:00 PM »
I agree that permission is a huge part of the difference. However, studies have also shown that libraries are a valuable part of the publishing supply chain and actually drive sales of books. There are thousands of libraries in the US and direct sales to libraries are actually a very large chunk of the purchases of many books. In addition, many times, library customers will go on to purchase their own personal copies of books once they have read a book from the library and decided it was worth it. Or, they will buy subsequent books from those authors. The simple exposure of having a book in the library leads many self-published authors to go to great lengths to have their books added to a local library's collection - because they will then be discovered by more people and will sell more copies.

The following article explains the situation well: http://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/industry-news/publishing-and-marketing/article/49316-survey-says-library-users-are-your-best-customers.html

“Our data show that over 50% of all library users report purchasing books by an author they were introduced to in the library,” Miller noted. “This debunks the myth that when a library buys a book the publisher loses future sales. Instead, it confirms that the public library does not only incubate and support literacy, as is well understood in our culture, but it is an active partner with the publishing industry in building the book market, not to mention the burgeoning e-book market.”

Publishers recognize this and market heavily to library collection development departments and are sending more and more authors on tour to libraries in addition to bookstores because that is where the readers are.

In short, libraries are not pirates, they are legitimate, paying users of materials and actually boost the sales the author would otherwise see because they market the books very effectively.

MrsPotts

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Re: How is using the library different than digital piracy?
« Reply #7 on: August 06, 2014, 06:39:51 PM »
Similar logic would equate taxation with larceny.

Public libraries are established by public entities with the full knowledge and consent of the people. 

Digital piracy is well, piracy.

sol

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Re: How is using the library different than digital piracy?
« Reply #8 on: August 06, 2014, 06:50:45 PM »
The only difference I see is that public libraries voluntarily operate under access restrictions.  For example, my library lends digital copies of books out, but they have a fixed number of digital licenses for each title.  If four people want a digital copy of a book the library only have three digital licenses for, somebody is going to have to wait for a "return" even though that makes absolutely no sense for digital books.

What's even stupider is that my library also allows unlimited photocopying of any of their physical books, with the library copier, without even checking the book out.  How is that different from piracy?

Public libraries are established by public entities with the full knowledge and consent of the people. 

That is not how libraries were established, at least not in this country.  Most of the nation's early libraries were private collections, and only later did local governments get in on the game.  I have never in my life voted to create a library.  Has anyone? 

Even if we did all vote for it, why would that make it okay to copy and distribute a copyrighted book?

saralibrarian

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Re: How is using the library different than digital piracy?
« Reply #9 on: August 06, 2014, 07:06:25 PM »
Libraries need to abide by copyright rules and should post a sign noting that customers using the copy machines (or printers, for that matter) are subject to Title 17 and infringements of copyright are subject to prosecution. It is on the customer who is using the library's resources to break the law to make that call. The same goes for people ripping copies of CDs that we purchase. They can be prosecuted if caught. We try to discourage use in this way but cannot police what people do once they are out of the building.

As for digital copies of books, libraries have to work with third-party vendors that set the rules for how e-books are used. In some cases, e-books can be "checked out" to a certain number of people (the number the library has purchased a license for) or can have unlimited use. This depends on the price point the library can afford, and many time, the copyright date on the book. Treasure Island is out of copyright and therefore is freely accessible, including in unlimited access download from your library.

rocklebock

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Re: How is using the library different than digital piracy?
« Reply #10 on: August 06, 2014, 07:27:04 PM »
Easiest answer: It's not piracy because the libraries and the publishers have legal agreements that say it's not. Large libraries have one or more staff members whose entire job is negotiating with the publishers and making sure the library doesn't violate the agreements.

But maybe you're asking the more philosophical question about why libraries are traditionally supported in doing this, whereas if you do it, you're a criminal.

StarryC

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Re: How is using the library different than digital piracy?
« Reply #11 on: August 06, 2014, 07:44:15 PM »
Many libraries also have digital loans.  And, the difference between those and the normal method of piracy is the waiting/ taking turns.  Though there is no cost to replicate a digital file, the libraries buy 5 copies of Audiobook A, and then only 5 people can have it at a time.  Enforced with DRM.   Though some rights holders attempt to prevent it, you can do this too!  Buy an audio book, loan it out to a friend.  While the friend has it, you can't use it. 

The inconvenience (location, waiting time, etc.) is another key factor.  The existence of the library allows price discrimination:  People willing to pay more don't suffer the terrible inconvenience of waiting their turn, returning the book on time, and going to the library. Some of those people even buy the book in hard cover at full price!  Slightly more price sensitive consumers buy an e-book, or a softback, or wait for a discount.  The most price sensitive customers go to the library.   

Nords

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Re: How is using the library different than digital piracy?
« Reply #12 on: August 06, 2014, 07:46:05 PM »
You get your book, CD, or movie for no cost.  The artist is not paid for your usage of the material.
How much did your library spend last year, and how many hours did you use the facilities for your tax contribution?

Take a look at NetGalley... it's significantly reduced my use of my local library, let alone my book purchases.  I'm not even paying tax dollars to read now.

MrsPotts

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Re: How is using the library different than digital piracy?
« Reply #13 on: August 06, 2014, 07:49:27 PM »
The only difference I see is that public libraries voluntarily operate under access restrictions.  For example, my library lends digital copies of books out, but they have a fixed number of digital licenses for each title.  If four people want a digital copy of a book the library only have three digital licenses for, somebody is going to have to wait for a "return" even though that makes absolutely no sense for digital books.

What's even stupider is that my library also allows unlimited photocopying of any of their physical books, with the library copier, without even checking the book out.  How is that different from piracy?

Public libraries are established by public entities with the full knowledge and consent of the people. 

That is not how libraries were established, at least not in this country.  Most of the nation's early libraries were private collections, and only later did local governments get in on the game.  I have never in my life voted to create a library.  Has anyone? 

Even if we did all vote for it, why would that make it okay to copy and distribute a copyrighted book?

Hey Sol,

Go on the internets, insert name of your town followed by "public library district."  Part of your property taxes go to support this. 

Spork

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Re: How is using the library different than digital piracy?
« Reply #14 on: August 06, 2014, 08:06:49 PM »
The only difference I see is that public libraries voluntarily operate under access restrictions.  For example, my library lends digital copies of books out, but they have a fixed number of digital licenses for each title.  If four people want a digital copy of a book the library only have three digital licenses for, somebody is going to have to wait for a "return" even though that makes absolutely no sense for digital books.

What's even stupider is that my library also allows unlimited photocopying of any of their physical books, with the library copier, without even checking the book out.  How is that different from piracy?

Public libraries are established by public entities with the full knowledge and consent of the people. 

That is not how libraries were established, at least not in this country.  Most of the nation's early libraries were private collections, and only later did local governments get in on the game.  I have never in my life voted to create a library.  Has anyone? 

Even if we did all vote for it, why would that make it okay to copy and distribute a copyrighted book?

Hey Sol,

Go on the internets, insert name of your town followed by "public library district."  Part of your property taxes go to support this.

I think his point... the key word was "established".  Carnegie set up a huge number of libraries with private funds.  In many cases, they eventually became public entities and were supported by taxes.

ShortInSeattle

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Re: How is using the library different than digital piracy?
« Reply #15 on: August 06, 2014, 08:23:16 PM »
Easiest answer: It's not piracy because the libraries and the publishers have legal agreements that say it's not. Large libraries have one or more staff members whose entire job is negotiating with the publishers and making sure the library doesn't violate the agreements.

But maybe you're asking the more philosophical question about why libraries are traditionally supported in doing this, whereas if you do it, you're a criminal.

There are complex licensing terms between distributors and libraries, but typically the author does get paid via the rules established with their publisher. eBooks don't wear out with use, and so in some cases libraries buy eBooks that "expire" after a certain number of loans, just as a paper book would.

Here are a few articles for those who want to dig deeper:

http://www.digitalbookworld.com/2013/the-real-cost-of-ebooks-for-libraries/
http://www.theguardian.com/books/2011/mar/06/ebooks-on-borrowed-time
http://www.npr.org/2013/08/05/209114978/e-books-strain-relations-beween-libraries-publishing-houses

Books seem to be going down the same rocky path as music and movies. Why pay $$ for a CD when you can stream pandora? Why pay $$ for a book when you can get it from the library or an all-you-can-read service?

I enjoy writing as a side gig, but honestly I think that "making a living" as creative person is gonna get harder and harder. We want $7.99 unlimited streaming movies, free music, and cheap books.

As an end user I benefit from these things. As a writer/musician/creative the prospects seem a bit bleak.

MrsPotts

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Re: How is using the library different than digital piracy?
« Reply #16 on: August 06, 2014, 08:24:05 PM »
The only difference I see is that public libraries voluntarily operate under access restrictions.  For example, my library lends digital copies of books out, but they have a fixed number of digital licenses for each title.  If four people want a digital copy of a book the library only have three digital licenses for, somebody is going to have to wait for a "return" even though that makes absolutely no sense for digital books.

What's even stupider is that my library also allows unlimited photocopying of any of their physical books, with the library copier, without even checking the book out.  How is that different from piracy?

Public libraries are established by public entities with the full knowledge and consent of the people. 

That is not how libraries were established, at least not in this country.  Most of the nation's early libraries were private collections, and only later did local governments get in on the game.  I have never in my life voted to create a library.  Has anyone? 

Even if we did all vote for it, why would that make it okay to copy and distribute a copyrighted book?

Hey Sol,

Go on the internets, insert name of your town followed by "public library district."  Part of your property taxes go to support this.

I think his point... the key word was "established".  Carnegie set up a huge number of libraries with private funds.  In many cases, they eventually became public entities and were supported by taxes.

Not to be OCD or anything, god forbid, but the point is that public libraries are PUBLIC.  If we, as a society, don't want them, we can vote them out.   Public libraries who pay for books and provide them to the community are playing by the rules.  Digital piracy is, on the other hand, criminal.

frugalnacho

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Re: How is using the library different than digital piracy?
« Reply #17 on: August 06, 2014, 09:03:02 PM »
Easiest answer: It's not piracy because the libraries and the publishers have legal agreements that say it's not. Large libraries have one or more staff members whose entire job is negotiating with the publishers and making sure the library doesn't violate the agreements.

But maybe you're asking the more philosophical question about why libraries are traditionally supported in doing this, whereas if you do it, you're a criminal.

There are complex licensing terms between distributors and libraries, but typically the author does get paid via the rules established with their publisher. eBooks don't wear out with use, and so in some cases libraries buy eBooks that "expire" after a certain number of loans, just as a paper book would.

Here are a few articles for those who want to dig deeper:

http://www.digitalbookworld.com/2013/the-real-cost-of-ebooks-for-libraries/
http://www.theguardian.com/books/2011/mar/06/ebooks-on-borrowed-time
http://www.npr.org/2013/08/05/209114978/e-books-strain-relations-beween-libraries-publishing-houses

Books seem to be going down the same rocky path as music and movies. Why pay $$ for a CD when you can stream pandora? Why pay $$ for a book when you can get it from the library or an all-you-can-read service?

I enjoy writing as a side gig, but honestly I think that "making a living" as creative person is gonna get harder and harder. We want $7.99 unlimited streaming movies, free music, and cheap books.

As an end user I benefit from these things. As a writer/musician/creative the prospects seem a bit bleak.

Libraries have been around for a long time and last time I checked people still wrote books.  We have more books than ever, and people still make a living off it.  Napster was released 15 years ago, and no one has had to pay for music since, and some how there is more music than ever.  I think people still believe in supporting the art they like. 

sheepstache

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Re: How is using the library different than digital piracy?
« Reply #18 on: August 06, 2014, 09:15:46 PM »
Legal issues aside, this is a question I worry about.  I was even thinking about asking it myself.  Books that I value don't get as much support from me as books that appeal to book buyers get from their fans.  I prefer to stay away from the consumerism-as-voting-machine mindset but sometimes I wish there were an easy way to drop an extra fiver in the hat  for authors I like.  As it is, heavy readers would seem to have the least influence over the industry, at least proportionately.

CDP45

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Re: How is using the library different than digital piracy?
« Reply #19 on: August 06, 2014, 11:38:07 PM »
This is a great question with many excellent responses as most technologically educated people know that digital "piracy" is a made up crime solely for the enrichment of large media conglomerates to reduce competition to improve profits.

I think the best response against the lie of IP advocates is well there is more music being produced than ever before, and also IP basically doesn't exist outside of western nations and that doesn't prevent the creation of music or books.

Also it gets to the question of what is property, and is something that can be infinitely replicated for no cost and doesn't prevent the original creator from using it really property? Should we all be forever paying royalties to the patent owner of the wheel?

GuitarStv

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Re: How is using the library different than digital piracy?
« Reply #20 on: August 07, 2014, 06:11:49 AM »
You get your book, CD, or movie for no cost.  The artist is not paid for your usage of the material.
How much did your library spend last year, and how many hours did you use the facilities for your tax contribution?

It's difficult to tell exactly how much was spent on books and media at the library as the budget that's released is all rolled into one . . . so administrative costs, staffing costs, facilities maintenance, special programs, computer labs, etc. The total budget for the Toronto library was 1.7 million this year though.

I use the facilities pretty close to never.  I order books online, get put in a queue and head down to the library every week as they become available to pick them up.  Probably average about 5 minutes a week at the library doing the automated checkout . . . and get 4-5 books a week on average.  The books are read once and then returned.  I think it's a great system, which is why I use it so often!

From my perspective though, morally it feels no different than digital piracy.  I can't imagine that in buying the book the library does any significant good for the artist considering the number of people who will read it for free.  The issue of ease of access is really a moot point for me, as I have a wide range of interests and have no problem sticking something on the queue and waiting for it to become available . . . and I enjoy biking down there every week more than waiting for something to come in the mail from amazon or heading to a book store (do those even exist any more?).

Here's a tough question for you . . . how is it morally wrong to download a book/movie that is available and has copies free at the public library?  Who is being harmed in any way by doing so?

Noodle

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Re: How is using the library different than digital piracy?
« Reply #21 on: August 07, 2014, 07:07:50 AM »
Well, flip it the other way. How many people would read the book if they had to pay money for it? A few authors, like, say, JK Rowling, would be fine. But there are a ton of mid-list authors, especially new ones, who would have a darn hard time getting people to see and purchase their books on the open marketplace. So a situation where, say, 5000 copies are paid for by libraries and those then serve as free advertising to sell more books is not valueless for the author. Another major service libraries provide to authors is keeping copies of their out-of-print books available. It's not so important nowadays that used books are easy and cheap to buy online but if you were a prolific author for a long time the library would be the only place for readers to find, say, the early books in a series.


GuitarStv

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Re: How is using the library different than digital piracy?
« Reply #22 on: August 07, 2014, 07:34:05 AM »
^ One could say that pirated downloads serve the same function.  Pirated fansubbed anime is often available well before any translations are officially completed and released by the company who owns the rights (often the stuff is never released in north america) . . . which is similar to the 'finding not available books' scenario.

frugalnacho

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Re: How is using the library different than digital piracy?
« Reply #23 on: August 07, 2014, 08:09:17 AM »
libraries have to buy the item/right to use it... and the item can only be shared one at a time and gets returned

1st guy to rip it buys it sure, but then he shares it with everyone at once and it doesn't stop

What if he shared with a limited number of people then stopped?

What if I have a friend on the coast and they want to listen to a cd I have, and instead of meeting up with them and letting them borrow my copy I instead rip it and send it electronically.  Then tell them "hey, you should probably delete that copy if you don't like it - if you do like it go support the artist and buy it". 

In this scenario I haven't gone balls out piracy and made it available to everyone, but that is still illegal.  Where exactly does it cross the line into piracy?  I don't mean legally either, I mean morally.  How is what I did morally wrong, but him borrowing it from the library is morally right?  Either scenario the artist only had 1 sale, and yet 2 people listened to the cd. 

iwasjustwondering

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Re: How is using the library different than digital piracy?
« Reply #24 on: August 07, 2014, 08:30:48 AM »


Even if we did all vote for it, why would that make it okay to copy and distribute a copyrighted book?

Library rights are a whole separate area of copyright law.  I used to work for a publisher.  We had dedicatd people who dealt with library sales.  The publishers understand that the libraries are going to treat the products differently than the general public.  It's really OK.

LibrarIan

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Re: How is using the library different than digital piracy?
« Reply #25 on: August 07, 2014, 08:53:21 AM »
This is an interesting question. A lot of it comes down to special licensing (mostly for e-items) and the First Sale Doctrine for physical items. The library buys a digital/physical book, it is theirs to share as much as they want (although digital items do have limitations). No individual user owns the item outright, they are simply borrowing it. I guess that is really the crux. Pirates don't just 'borrow' items. They download them, keep them and the things sit on a drive somewhere forever, thereby skirting all kinds of legal agreements and other boring policies. Library items must be returned, thereby keeping the original copy number the same.

I don't really equate them to be the same. Here's my reasoning - take it or leave it.

If I check out a book, I make use of a library my tax dollars went toward AND I increase their usage stats, thereby upping demand. If everyone went and checked out a book, the demand would be really high and the library would buy more books/cds/dvds/games (assuming their users agree to increase their budget to meet all this new demand). Buying more items means more money for publishers and creators. At the same time, you're operating in a sharing environment. Not every person needs to own a certain book, you just need a good ratio of copies to people, so there are still items being purchased, but you're sharing them and decreasing the overall materialistic issues that come with consumerism. If everyone stopped buying books and started using libraries, it is my opinion that you'd have...

A) Healthier communities overall. Libraries provide many, many services and I feel they are crucial to community betterment.
B) Lots of items being purchased, but still fewer things being purchased than if everyone bought an individual copy. This is good. Less waste, still getting money into the hands of creators, etc.
C) Less incentive to pirate. The more use libraries get, the more money they get, the more things they can do, the more stuff they have for you. If you know you can go to the library and participate in this creativity-driving force, why would you pirate and fly under the radar?

To address some other points...

"A book checked out is a lost sale."

Yes and no. Sure, Person A might never buy the book they checked out, but Person B might go on and buy all the author's works because they loved them so much. This also ties into the 'try before you buy' thing. I'd rather check out a crappy book than buy a crappy book. www.patronprofiles.com explains this further. (Yes, you could argue piracy does the same thing. Let's be nice people though.)

"People use copy machines to illegally obtain books."

Possibly. They might also just book steal one from a store, which would be waaaay easier. I wouldn't waste the time photocopying a 200 page book. At my library, it's 10 cents a page. So my 200 page book (assuming you can fit two book pages onto one 8.5 x 11 page) becomes $10.00. Sure, the creator is not getting that, but it certainly isn't free. I would rather just check it out, read it and return it like normal people.

"I didn't vote to have my library."

Maybe not. Carnegie established many we have today, but with the disclaimer that after he set it up, the community would have to fund it themselves, which they agreed to (at that time). If you live in a community where a library existed before you did, this argument is like saying you didn't vote to create the police/fire/EMS/water treatment. Just because you didn't specifically vote on it doesn't mean no one did in the past. And don't we all love police? I sure do. It would make no sense to close the library system, then vote to see if everyone wants to create one again.

"People check out CDs and then copy them at home."

There's nothing the library can do about this. I might borrow my friend's car and run someone over on purpose. Is it my friend's fault? No. (Putting aside all insurance liability stuff, of course.)

"Libraries are too expensive."

No, you're probably just cheap. You get back way more than you put in if you opt to use it well. They're extremely MMM friendly.

"Libraries were originally all private [therefore they should still be]."

Flawed argument. If all things remained in their original state, our hospitals would be reduced to magic shaman and cars would be noisy, slow behemoths of machines. Things change over time. Sometimes change is good.

"Library items are steeply discounted."

Probably not. Unless items are donated or the vendor puts them on sale because no one is buying them, libraries normally pay more for items to counterbalance the fact that lots of people are going to check them out. These higher costs are referred to as "circulation fees."

"My library's budget is hard to read."

Call them and ask them to demystify it.

Libraries are great things. Piracy is not so great. I've used both things. I prefer the library.
« Last Edit: August 07, 2014, 08:56:00 AM by LibrarIan »

frugalnacho

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Re: How is using the library different than digital piracy?
« Reply #26 on: August 07, 2014, 09:20:46 AM »
This is an interesting question. A lot of it comes down to special licensing (mostly for e-items) and the First Sale Doctrine for physical items. The library buys a digital/physical book, it is theirs to share as much as they want (although digital items do have limitations). No individual user owns the item outright, they are simply borrowing it. I guess that is really the crux. Pirates don't just 'borrow' items. They download them, keep them and the things sit on a drive somewhere forever, thereby skirting all kinds of legal agreements and other boring policies. Library items must be returned, thereby keeping the original copy number the same.


I don't think he was asking why it's different legally.  That's like saying black hats are illegal, and red hats are legal.  But why? Because the hat law says black hats are illegal and red hats are legal.

What if I rip a movie, and then share it with everyone on MMM, with the caveat that only one person may watch their particular copy at a time, and they must delete it when they are done.   That is hyper illegal, and many on here would say that is morally wrong.  But if the library owned a copy and loaned it out to each one of us one at a time, how is the end result any different?  What makes my method of sharing digitally inherently wrong while the library is right? (other than the technical letter of the law)

"A book checked out is a lost sale."

Yes and no. Sure, Person A might never buy the book they checked out, but Person B might go on and buy all the author's works because they loved them so much. This also ties into the 'try before you buy' thing. I'd rather check out a crappy book than buy a crappy book. www.patronprofiles.com explains this further. (Yes, you could argue piracy does the same thing. Let's be nice people though.)

You didn't give any justification of why piracy is wrong though.  Why should we be "nice people" and borrow a book from the library instead of pirating it? What is fundamentally bad about piracy vs library?  Wouldn't I actually be a nice person if I participated in piracy that ended up boosting the sales of artists I believe in and want to support?

LibrarIan

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Re: How is using the library different than digital piracy?
« Reply #27 on: August 07, 2014, 09:25:34 AM »
This is an interesting question. A lot of it comes down to special licensing (mostly for e-items) and the First Sale Doctrine for physical items. The library buys a digital/physical book, it is theirs to share as much as they want (although digital items do have limitations). No individual user owns the item outright, they are simply borrowing it. I guess that is really the crux. Pirates don't just 'borrow' items. They download them, keep them and the things sit on a drive somewhere forever, thereby skirting all kinds of legal agreements and other boring policies. Library items must be returned, thereby keeping the original copy number the same.


I don't think he was asking why it's different legally.  That's like saying black hats are illegal, and red hats are legal.  But why? Because the hat law says black hats are illegal and red hats are legal.

What if I rip a movie, and then share it with everyone on MMM, with the caveat that only one person may watch their particular copy at a time, and they must delete it when they are done.   That is hyper illegal, and many on here would say that is morally wrong.  But if the library owned a copy and loaned it out to each one of us one at a time, how is the end result any different?  What makes my method of sharing digitally inherently wrong while the library is right? (other than the technical letter of the law)

"A book checked out is a lost sale."

Yes and no. Sure, Person A might never buy the book they checked out, but Person B might go on and buy all the author's works because they loved them so much. This also ties into the 'try before you buy' thing. I'd rather check out a crappy book than buy a crappy book. www.patronprofiles.com explains this further. (Yes, you could argue piracy does the same thing. Let's be nice people though.)

You didn't give any justification of why piracy is wrong though.  Why should we be "nice people" and borrow a book from the library instead of pirating it? What is fundamentally bad about piracy vs library?  Wouldn't I actually be a nice person if I participated in piracy that ended up boosting the sales of artists I believe in and want to support?

To address both things, I'd say that piracy is fundamentally wrong because no creator/publisher ever gets any compensation from piracy apart from a possible initial buy (unless the pirate decides to go buy it after pirating something and liking it, but many downloaders can resubmit and file and spur more downloading without ever making an initial purchase). Sure, the library bought up front and sent it out like a pirate might do, but higher usage on the part of the downloaders does not necessitate more buying with piracy like it does in libraries. The library does pay (often higher prices) for items, therefore someone is getting compensated, albeit it less than each person buying their own copy. The more people use the library, the more compensation happens. I guess it's like a happy medium between capitalism (everyone buying and all getting paid) and piracy (no one buying and no one getting paid).

EDIT: Clarity.
« Last Edit: August 07, 2014, 09:32:53 AM by LibrarIan »

frugalnacho

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Re: How is using the library different than digital piracy?
« Reply #28 on: August 07, 2014, 09:40:11 AM »
This is an interesting question. A lot of it comes down to special licensing (mostly for e-items) and the First Sale Doctrine for physical items. The library buys a digital/physical book, it is theirs to share as much as they want (although digital items do have limitations). No individual user owns the item outright, they are simply borrowing it. I guess that is really the crux. Pirates don't just 'borrow' items. They download them, keep them and the things sit on a drive somewhere forever, thereby skirting all kinds of legal agreements and other boring policies. Library items must be returned, thereby keeping the original copy number the same.


I don't think he was asking why it's different legally.  That's like saying black hats are illegal, and red hats are legal.  But why? Because the hat law says black hats are illegal and red hats are legal.

What if I rip a movie, and then share it with everyone on MMM, with the caveat that only one person may watch their particular copy at a time, and they must delete it when they are done.   That is hyper illegal, and many on here would say that is morally wrong.  But if the library owned a copy and loaned it out to each one of us one at a time, how is the end result any different?  What makes my method of sharing digitally inherently wrong while the library is right? (other than the technical letter of the law)

"A book checked out is a lost sale."

Yes and no. Sure, Person A might never buy the book they checked out, but Person B might go on and buy all the author's works because they loved them so much. This also ties into the 'try before you buy' thing. I'd rather check out a crappy book than buy a crappy book. www.patronprofiles.com explains this further. (Yes, you could argue piracy does the same thing. Let's be nice people though.)

You didn't give any justification of why piracy is wrong though.  Why should we be "nice people" and borrow a book from the library instead of pirating it? What is fundamentally bad about piracy vs library?  Wouldn't I actually be a nice person if I participated in piracy that ended up boosting the sales of artists I believe in and want to support?

To address both things, I'd say that piracy is fundamentally wrong because no creator/publisher ever gets any compensation from piracy (unless the pirate decides to go buy it after pirating something and liking it). The library does pay (often higher prices) for items, therefore someone is getting compensated, albeit it less than each person buying their own copy. The more people use the library, the more compensation happens. I guess it's like a happy medium between capitalism (everyone buying and all getting paid) and piracy (no one buying and no one getting paid).

In both scenarios exactly 1 copy was legally purchased, and everyone on the MMM forum watched the movie.  Total level of exposure is exactly the same. 

You seem to be making assumptions about piracy and artists getting paid.  If everyone watched the libraries legal copy of the movie (for free) some how the movie studio will make more money?  But if everyone watched my legal copy of the movie via the internet (for free) some how no one will make any money? 

I'm not really understanding exactly how the artist is going to be compensated more if someone chooses to use the libraries legal copy of the movie as opposed to my legal copy of the movie.   Other than the effect that maybe if the library is lending out the movie 100% of the time they may purchase additional copies.   But I have to question if those sales really make a difference to the bottom line.  Your product is so popular that we can't lend it out for free to everyone fast enough, so we purchase a second copy.  Wouldn't it be infinitely better (for the artist) for the product to remain scarce (for free) and thus force more people into purchasing their own copy?  And if it's the overall exposure the artist receives which results in increased overall sales - then how is piracy fundamentally bad in that regard?


LibrarIan

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Re: How is using the library different than digital piracy?
« Reply #29 on: August 07, 2014, 09:42:55 AM »
"In both scenarios exactly 1 copy was legally purchased, and everyone on the MMM forum watched the movie.  Total level of exposure is exactly the same.  "

No. You didn't read (or perhaps comprehend?) everything.

Piracy: 1 copy purchased, everyone downloading. No one gets paid except once. 1 person on Earth could upload a movie and the entire planet could download it. Literally one purchase. (Obviously this is extreme.)

Libraries: 1 copy purchased, lots of people borrow it. Oh no! We need more to meet demand. *Buys more copies*. 1 library system cannot support the entire earth, so we have lots of library systems all buying copies to meet the demand of their users. Far more purchases than with piracy.

See what I'm saying now?
« Last Edit: August 07, 2014, 09:50:07 AM by LibrarIan »

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Re: How is using the library different than digital piracy?
« Reply #30 on: August 07, 2014, 09:47:29 AM »
You get your book, CD, or movie for no cost.  The artist is not paid for your usage of the material.  Nothing is stolen in either scenario.

The only real difference I can see is that at some point the library has to buy a copy of the media . . . But so does the first guy to rip something.  Is it only that using the library is slightly more inconvenient that makes it acceptable?
It's an interesting question, because I recently bought a book for my kindle, and at the beginning of it, the author says she expressly forbids anyone from sharing the book. And even goes to point out that reselling the book (were you to own it in paper form), is forbidden.

Um...

LibrarIan

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Re: How is using the library different than digital piracy?
« Reply #31 on: August 07, 2014, 09:49:12 AM »
You get your book, CD, or movie for no cost.  The artist is not paid for your usage of the material.  Nothing is stolen in either scenario.

The only real difference I can see is that at some point the library has to buy a copy of the media . . . But so does the first guy to rip something.  Is it only that using the library is slightly more inconvenient that makes it acceptable?
It's an interesting question, because I recently bought a book for my kindle, and at the beginning of it, the author says she expressly forbids anyone from sharing the book. And even goes to point out that reselling the book (were you to own it in paper form), is forbidden.

Um...

Well, they can't do that anyway, so that's not an issue. The legislation makes their attempts futile.

frugalnacho

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Re: How is using the library different than digital piracy?
« Reply #32 on: August 07, 2014, 09:52:36 AM »
"In both scenarios exactly 1 copy was legally purchased, and everyone on the MMM forum watched the movie.  Total level of exposure is exactly the same.  "

No. You didn't read everything.

Piracy: 1 copy purchased, everyone downloading. No one gets paid except once. 1 person on Earth could upload a movie and the entire planet could download it. Literally one purchase.

Libraries: 1 copy purchased, lots of people borrow it. Oh no! We need more to meet demand. *Buys more copies*. 1 library system cannot support the entire earth, so we have lots of library systems all buying copies to meet the demand of their users. Far more purchases than with piracy.

See what I'm saying now?

I read it and addressed it.

But I have to question if those sales really make a difference to the bottom line.  Your product is so popular that we can't lend it out for free to everyone fast enough, so we purchase a second copy

I just question how effective it actually is, and exactly where do you draw the line on it being acceptable.  What if I set up a piracy website and decided to use my advertising proceeds to purchase whatever item I was sharing as a ratio of how much I shared it.  For example for every 100 downloads of this cd I will support the artist and purchase 1 cd.  Some how I get the feeling that:

1. That would still be considered illegal
2. That would still be considered morally wrong (even though the library will loan each copy out over 100 times thus reversing the actual effect you describe of the artist being compensated slightly by increased demand)

And my specific example was intentionally configured so it was under the threshold of having to buy a second copy of the movie.  In my specific example exactly 1 copy was purchased in each scenario.  Yet one is considered legal and moral, and one is super illegal and immoral. 

LibrarIan

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Re: How is using the library different than digital piracy?
« Reply #33 on: August 07, 2014, 10:06:28 AM »
I read it and addressed it.

But I have to question if those sales really make a difference to the bottom line.  Your product is so popular that we can't lend it out for free to everyone fast enough, so we purchase a second copy

I just question how effective it actually is, and exactly where do you draw the line on it being acceptable.  What if I set up a piracy website and decided to use my advertising proceeds to purchase whatever item I was sharing as a ratio of how much I shared it.  For example for every 100 downloads of this cd I will support the artist and purchase 1 cd.  Some how I get the feeling that:

1. That would still be considered illegal
2. That would still be considered morally wrong (even though the library will loan each copy out over 100 times thus reversing the actual effect you describe of the artist being compensated slightly by increased demand)

And my specific example was intentionally configured so it was under the threshold of having to buy a second copy of the movie.  In my specific example exactly 1 copy was purchased in each scenario.  Yet one is considered legal and moral, and one is super illegal and immoral.

Perhaps it simply comes down to an issue of scale. There are 16,415 public library buildings in the USA. Let's say they all buy one copy of the new JK Rowling book. She just sold 16,415 copies. Demand is really high though so they need to buy 2 extra a piece. There's 49,245 copies. This is very simple, I know. I'm doubting a pirate is going to stir 49,245 purchases by sheer demand.  Surely you would agree that 49,245 > 1? This is ignoring that some libraries are just huge and buy hundreds of copies of some things as well as the often higher prices they pay to circulate items. So assuming one copy is, say, $15.00 normally, it might now be $20.00 to cover circ fees, so Rowling just made $984,900 from library sales and $15.00 from the pirate.

Add in the idea that piracy, I would argue, isn't existing to improve communities and I still say libraries are better. You might have the nicest pirate around willing to pay money as people download things, but chances are I can't go to that pirate and attend a story time, get something notarized, have a test proctored or borrow other items (because chances are this really nice pirate can't afford to buy hundreds of thousands of items by themselves). But I'm getting a little off topic here...

EDIT: Found a source that actually states how many buildings exist but my point still stands: http://www.ala.org/tools/libfactsheets/alalibraryfactsheet01
« Last Edit: August 07, 2014, 10:21:47 AM by LibrarIan »

frugalnacho

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Re: How is using the library different than digital piracy?
« Reply #34 on: August 07, 2014, 10:25:02 AM »
I read it and addressed it.

But I have to question if those sales really make a difference to the bottom line.  Your product is so popular that we can't lend it out for free to everyone fast enough, so we purchase a second copy

I just question how effective it actually is, and exactly where do you draw the line on it being acceptable.  What if I set up a piracy website and decided to use my advertising proceeds to purchase whatever item I was sharing as a ratio of how much I shared it.  For example for every 100 downloads of this cd I will support the artist and purchase 1 cd.  Some how I get the feeling that:

1. That would still be considered illegal
2. That would still be considered morally wrong (even though the library will loan each copy out over 100 times thus reversing the actual effect you describe of the artist being compensated slightly by increased demand)

And my specific example was intentionally configured so it was under the threshold of having to buy a second copy of the movie.  In my specific example exactly 1 copy was purchased in each scenario.  Yet one is considered legal and moral, and one is super illegal and immoral.

Perhaps it simply comes down to an issue of scale. There are nearly 9,000 public library systems (not branches - systems) in the United States. On average I'd guess that each library system might have 3 branches (this is typical from my experience in the field). That's 27,000 individual buildings (probably more). Let's say they all buy one copy of the new JK Rowling book. She just sold 27,000 copies. Demand is really high though so they need to buy 3 extra a piece. There's 81,000 copies. This is very simple, I know. I'm doubting a pirate is going to stir 81,000 purchases by sheer demand.  Surely you would agree that 81,000 > 1? This is ignoring that some libraries are just huge and buy hundreds of copies of some things as well as the often higher prices they pay to circulate items. So assuming one copy is, say, $15.00 normally, it might now be $20.00 to cover circ fees, so Rowling just made $1,620,000 from library sales and $15.00 from the pirate.

Add in the idea that piracy, I would argue, isn't existing to improve communities and I still say libraries are better. You might have the nicest pirate around willing to pay money as people download things, but chances are I can't go to that pirate and attend a story time, get something notarized, have a test proctored or borrow other items (because chances are this really nice pirate can't afford to buy hundreds of thousands of items by themselves). But I'm getting a little off topic here...

It's not just an issue of scale though, people think piracy is fundamentally wrong.  Now you are using numbers to try to justify the library sharing without paying full price.  Is $1.62M enough compensation for a book that is so in demand each library had to purchase 3 copies?  How did you determine that is enough?  If the library can loan out to 100 people is it ok if I distribute my pirated version to only 100 people then stop?  After all if every pirate bought the item legally and only shared it with 100 people...well you can do the math and figure the artist will still get compensated a great deal.  Only about 1/100 of what they would get if everyone purchased their own legal copy, but it is more than $0.

I think the rest of your points are off topic and irrelevant.  Should I be legally allowed to pirate material if I set up a story time, become a notary, and lend my personal items out to people?

LibrarIan

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Re: How is using the library different than digital piracy?
« Reply #35 on: August 07, 2014, 10:35:32 AM »
It's not just an issue of scale though, people think piracy is fundamentally wrong.  Now you are using numbers to try to justify the library sharing without paying full price.  Is $1.62M enough compensation for a book that is so in demand each library had to purchase 3 copies?  How did you determine that is enough?  If the library can loan out to 100 people is it ok if I distribute my pirated version to only 100 people then stop?  After all if every pirate bought the item legally and only shared it with 100 people...well you can do the math and figure the artist will still get compensated a great deal.  Only about 1/100 of what they would get if everyone purchased their own legal copy, but it is more than $0.

I think the rest of your points are off topic and irrelevant.  Should I be legally allowed to pirate material if I set up a story time, become a notary, and lend my personal items out to people?

Perhaps the answer is that there is nothing fundamentally different. It's all in how we choose as a populous to legally sanction one form of obtaining over another. All the arguments I've presented simply drive home the point that it is quite likely that artists are making more from libraries than piracy and that libraries offer more benefits socially than pirates. We can nitpick, but I doubt many would disagree there.

I guess this means that GameStop is also unethical for selling used games (creators get nothing in this case, but FSD backs them up). Every used media store of any kind would fall under this domain. So you shouldn't resell what you legally paid for because the creator isn't getting anything...? Or let people borrow them? 3D printing is also bringing up the issue of recreating physical objects that can't be replicated digitally and 'reselling' them. Now I can copy objects I like and sell them. Perhaps I could start lending them? Who knows.

I guess the webz changed everything. Before the Internet, piracy was photocopying or maybe burning which was not super convenient for anyone. Now you can click a mouse and have all kinds of stuff and make unlimited copies. So this whole dilemma really didn't start until computers, the Internet and digital media existed.

Isn't it strange how something can be considered perfectly natural and then an invention comes along and people start crying piracy?

scrubbyfish

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Re: How is using the library different than digital piracy?
« Reply #36 on: August 07, 2014, 10:36:31 AM »
"Library items are steeply discounted."

Probably not. Unless items are donated or the vendor puts them on sale because no one is buying them, libraries normally pay more for items to counterbalance the fact that lots of people are going to check them out.

Confused. In every publishing option I've worked with, libraries are offered a special rate (40-45% discount) for books they purchase.

LibrarIan

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Re: How is using the library different than digital piracy?
« Reply #37 on: August 07, 2014, 10:37:23 AM »
"Library items are steeply discounted."

Probably not. Unless items are donated or the vendor puts them on sale because no one is buying them, libraries normally pay more for items to counterbalance the fact that lots of people are going to check them out.

Confused. In every publishing option I've worked with, libraries are offered a special rate (40-45% discount) for books they purchase.

Every public library I've worked at paid higher prices. I would've loved those discounts though.

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Re: How is using the library different than digital piracy?
« Reply #38 on: August 07, 2014, 10:42:42 AM »
One is sanctioned by the owner and one is not sanctioned. If an author chooses to not sell to libraries then he can make that choice, whereas if one person buys his product and gives it to everyone he lost control of his asset.

I am not sure how people can support piracy. Are they also good with shoplifting? 

LibrarIan

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Re: How is using the library different than digital piracy?
« Reply #39 on: August 07, 2014, 10:47:23 AM »
One is sanctioned by the owner and one is not sanctioned. If an author chooses to not sell to libraries then he can make that choice, whereas if one person buys his product and gives it to everyone he lost control of his asset.

I am not sure how people can support piracy. Are they also good with shoplifting?

This reminds me of an analogy I sometimes hear, which can be good to think about.

Imagine Company A makes vehicles. Lots of people might buy vehicles right? But then you have public transit. Those cheap public transit users aren't buying Company A's vehicles. The public transit users are no different than car thieves now right? They are still getting where they need to go with the assistance of the government and Company A is not making any money off that... unless they start selling buses. The more people who use buses, the more Company A sells. I know this isn't a true, complete, direct analogy, but I think you all get the idea.

scrubbyfish

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Re: How is using the library different than digital piracy?
« Reply #40 on: August 07, 2014, 10:56:29 AM »
Confused. In every publishing option I've worked with, libraries are offered a special rate (40-45% discount) for books they purchase.

Every public library I've worked at paid higher prices. I would've loved those discounts though.

Hmmmm...So, the publisher is offering 40-45% discount on sales to libraries, the author is receiving a reduced royalty on that, but you are saying libraries are paying higher than cover price... Who's netting the difference? Maybe there's a whole other form of piracy going on.

One is sanctioned by the owner and one is not sanctioned. If an author chooses to not sell to libraries then he can make that choice, whereas if one person buys his product and gives it to everyone he lost control of his asset.

We need to differentiate between authors, publishers, and distributors. Authors call few, if any, of the shots in distribution. Their publishers and distributors determine things, with little or no say by the author. Yes, many authors benefit from various aspects of representation, but authors are not necessarily sanctioning the distribution of their work through libraries any more than they are sanctioning distribution of their work through piracy. They are often merely acquiescing to terms of a publishing/distribution contract in which they have no real say against "industry standards".

I am not sure how people can support piracy. Are they also good with shoplifting?

This is the very question of the thread, I think. i.e., When we borrow a book from a library, are we negatively impacting the author's income? If "sharing" via piracy is immoral, why is "sharing" via libraries moral? What happens when we replace the word "piracy" with the phrase "borrowing from a library"? Etc. This is, I think, what we're exploring here. Exciting!

GuitarStv

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Re: How is using the library different than digital piracy?
« Reply #41 on: August 07, 2014, 11:16:51 AM »
One is sanctioned by the owner and one is not sanctioned. If an author chooses to not sell to libraries then he can make that choice, whereas if one person buys his product and gives it to everyone he lost control of his asset.

Is this actually the case though?  If I write a book that becomes a best seller can I ban any library from purchasing it for distribution or from taking a copy as a donation from a library user?  Can libraries not just buy stuff from Amazon?  I don't really know how their whole distribution system works.

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Re: How is using the library different than digital piracy?
« Reply #42 on: August 07, 2014, 11:17:42 AM »
You get your book, CD, or movie for no cost.  The artist is not paid for your usage of the material.
How much did your library spend last year, and how many hours did you use the facilities for your tax contribution?

It's difficult to tell exactly how much was spent on books and media at the library as the budget that's released is all rolled into one . . . so administrative costs, staffing costs, facilities maintenance, special programs, computer labs, etc. The total budget for the Toronto library was 1.7 million this year though.

I use the facilities pretty close to never.  I order books online, get put in a queue and head down to the library every week as they become available to pick them up.  Probably average about 5 minutes a week at the library doing the automated checkout . . . and get 4-5 books a week on average.  The books are read once and then returned.  I think it's a great system, which is why I use it so often!

From my perspective though, morally it feels no different than digital piracy.  I can't imagine that in buying the book the library does any significant good for the artist considering the number of people who will read it for free.  The issue of ease of access is really a moot point for me, as I have a wide range of interests and have no problem sticking something on the queue and waiting for it to become available . . . and I enjoy biking down there every week more than waiting for something to come in the mail from amazon or heading to a book store (do those even exist any more?).

Here's a tough question for you . . . how is it morally wrong to download a book/movie that is available and has copies free at the public library?  Who is being harmed in any way by doing so?
My point was simply that the artist is paid for your use of the materials-- you pay taxes to the government, the government builds the library and hands over budget funds, and the library buys the book (or licenses the electronic version). 

I'm not commenting on your morals, but the library's license fees are based on assumptions about how many borrowers will use their "free" copies.  If you're not using the library access then you're not compensating the artist for their work and the assumptions don't support the license fee.  At some point the library may decide that it's not working and shut down the system by not buying that book or movie.

Piracy is a fact of business.  License & sales agreements are complicated by promotions and "try before you buy", as well as the general incompetence of the authorized vendors (especially the online ones).  However the basic business model has been the same since medieval minstrels strummed their mandolins on street corners:  if you like what you experience, then leave the performer a tip.

As I've said before, NetGalley has cut way back on my library trips.  But while I'm still paying tax dollars, instead of expending my time & calories on library trips I'm now devoting them to writing book reviews in exchange for the "free" read.

SisterX

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Re: How is using the library different than digital piracy?
« Reply #43 on: August 07, 2014, 12:06:40 PM »
To fan the flames higher: how is piracy or the library system that much different from me loaning a book out to friends?  Someone pointed out above that an author tried to say you couldn't do that with their books, but that legally they can't tell you not to do that.  How is that too much different from me sending a friend a copy of the digital book I recently purchased?  She won't distribute it to anyone else, and if I had the physical object I would loan it to her in the same way.  She's unlikely to read it again (which is why I'm sending it to her rather than telling her to buy a copy for herself) so there's no problem of multiple uses and only one buyer.  Even if she did want to read it again, it's not like I keep track of how many times a friend borrows a certain physical book.  "Oh no, you've already borrowed that one from me twice.  I'm afraid you'll have to purchase your own copy now."  No, my friends know they can borrow books from me anytime just as I can do from them, and just as you can do from the library.  So how is loaning a digital copy to friends different?

Additionally, why is it illegal to pirate digital editions of movies I already "own"?  I really don't want to buy DVDs of all the tapes I got as a kid, or turn around and buy Blu-Ray of all the DVDs I own, and then purchase them all on the next form of media which comes out.  But, somehow, me downloading just the movies I already purchased is still piracy and still illegal.  That shows that what I purchased is, in effect, the physical object rather than the content of the object.  But who cares about the physical object which is the tape or DVD?  What I really wanted was the content of it.  So since I already purchased it once, why is it considered both morally and legally wrong for me to download a digital version without paying for it all over again?

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Re: How is using the library different than digital piracy?
« Reply #44 on: August 07, 2014, 12:20:10 PM »
Funny side story:

My parents were complaining about a government official who was making the news for essentially abusing funds and the system while obfuscating her misdeeds.  They were furious about this level of corruption and unethical behavior.

Then without missing a beat, the conversation turned to, "Oh by the way, I need to download the next audio book in my series.  Log on to online library for [former address they had not lived in for over a year] and get it.  But don’t plug in the iPod because that has an overdue audio book on it that will auto-return if it connects to the internet.”

They didn’t really get it when I pointed out the parallels.

scrubbyfish

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Re: How is using the library different than digital piracy?
« Reply #45 on: August 07, 2014, 12:31:09 PM »
Excellent food for thought, SisterX!

My point was simply that the artist is paid for your use of the materials-- you pay taxes to the government, the government builds the library and hands over budget funds, and the library buys the book (or licenses the electronic version). 

Nords: You just saved my soul! I've never earned enough to pay taxes (except three years on property), so can't justify my use of the library through that vein, but... I'm a writer/author, and my big "business kerfuffle" that some have read about in my other posts related to that. That is, writing has made me money and it has cost me big money (by some people doing a different version of piracy). As a result, after some years of success, I recently had to turn to government assistance. I have been feeling a lot of pain about that: Do I deserve these subsidies? Am I morally obligated to get a "real job" rather than continue one fraught with financial traps? Etc. But when you put it this way, it helps me see it all differently. Authors are very unprotected, many people believe our work (any "intellectual property") should be offered without charge or at a rate of, say, twenty-five cents an hour, etc. But your words -that an author is paid, indirectly, via our taxes- inspired this thought in me: Through the direct subsidies, I am being paid by the government to do a work that is unprotected. I feel a lot of ease with that. Thank you! (I'm not saying any of this facetiously; I'm saying it sincerely.)

Also, your idea to support writers by posting public reviews ROCKS. I am going to aim to do one a week now.

LibrarIan

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Re: How is using the library different than digital piracy?
« Reply #46 on: August 07, 2014, 12:41:16 PM »
I guess we've gotten a little too involved in this whole debate and haven't emphasized the obvious: Piracy means unlimited quantities of copies whereas libraries (physical/digital) mean a set number of copies which were all paid for. No matter how many times an item is borrowed, there are the same number of copies in existence (digital library files become useless or 'vanish'). If I pirate, now I have a copy and the originator has a copy, and these copies will always be usable. Maybe that is sufficient?

Daleth

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Re: How is using the library different than digital piracy?
« Reply #47 on: August 07, 2014, 12:43:31 PM »
This is a great question with many excellent responses as most technologically educated people know that digital "piracy" is a made up crime solely for the enrichment of large media conglomerates to reduce competition to improve profits.

Uhhh, no. When you pirate music, you are taking money directly out of the pockets of the songwriters and the musicians. Sure, you're probably also taking money out of the pockets of a "media conglomerate" (if the artist is signed to such a label), but even that isn't true in the case of all music. For instance, if you pirate an Ani DiFranco CD you're taking money out of Ani DiFranco's pocket twice, since she's both the songwriter/performer and the owner of the record label (she founded her own independent label). How do you justify that? Why should people entertain you for free?

I think the best response against the lie of IP advocates is well there is more music being produced than ever before

There are more people than ever before, hence more musicians. Most people get into music because they love it, not because they expect to get rich off it--but does that really mean we shouldn't pay them AT ALL?

And in any case, it's been over a century since music has been well protected by copyright in western nations, which is actually longer than there's been the technology to widely distribute music, so there isn't really a valid comparison to be made between how much music is produced now vs. how much music was produced at some point in time when copyright protection was stricter or laxer.

and also IP basically doesn't exist outside of western nations and that doesn't prevent the creation of music or books.

So tell me, when was the last time you heard a great song by a Chinese or Indian band? And when was the last time you read a great book in the original third-world language it was written in?

Isn't it interesting how even two decades into the existence of the web--i.e. even in this era when anyone can post their song or video online for everyone to see--the overwhelming majority of recorded music comes from countries with strong IP protection for music?

And the only way you're likely to read a great Chinese, Indian, etc. book is if some western publishing house pays a translator to translate it into English and then publishes it--which it would make no economic sense to do if you couldn't protect translations with copyright.

Also it gets to the question of what is property, and is something that can be infinitely replicated for no cost and doesn't prevent the original creator from using it really property? Should we all be forever paying royalties to the patent owner of the wheel?

Patents only last 20 years, FYI. As for "what is property," I can't recall the exact quote offhand but one of our Founding Fathers said something to the effect that "there is no property more particularly a man's own than the product of his own intelligence." You seem to think people should produce useful or entertaining things with their intelligence but get paid zip for it. I personally don't think we should require anyone to work for free.
« Last Edit: August 07, 2014, 12:45:23 PM by Daleth »

CanuckExpat

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Re: How is using the library different than digital piracy?
« Reply #48 on: August 07, 2014, 01:18:29 PM »
Copyright limits the ability to make copies.  The library doesn't make copies, while the pirates do.

I think this answered the original question a long time ago. This is why libraries buy multiple copies of "Hop on Pop" to lend out, and don't just photocopy the pages for each patron. The former is legal, the second is not (depending on jurisdiction, laws, etc.).

Of course, if it is public domain work, or the copyright holder allows you to make copies (GNU license etc), then you are free to make copies.

frugalnacho

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Re: How is using the library different than digital piracy?
« Reply #49 on: August 07, 2014, 01:35:16 PM »
I guess we've gotten a little too involved in this whole debate and haven't emphasized the obvious: Piracy means unlimited quantities of copies whereas libraries (physical/digital) mean a set number of copies which were all paid for. No matter how many times an item is borrowed, there are the same number of copies in existence (digital library files become useless or 'vanish'). If I pirate, now I have a copy and the originator has a copy, and these copies will always be usable. Maybe that is sufficient?

Not really.  You can pirate just a single copy of something.  If I rip a back up copy of a dvd I have and send it digitally to just you, so only you and me have copies, that is piracy but it's limited to a single copy.  What if we agree that we will never watch the movie simultaneously though, is it still piracy or just you holding onto my legal digital backup?  And if I am able to watch my own legal back up, why can't you?

I think part of the issue is that an item can be consumed without destroying the item.   100 people can all read the same physical copy of that book.  All 100 people consumed the book and all the ideas it contained, but still only 1 copy was purchased.