Wattpad Pirates Get Craftier

14 November 2014

From Publishers Weekly:

A zero-tolerance policy on Wattpad, the social media site that claims 35 million readers and writers worldwide, has not done away with the problem of digital piracy on the site. Earlier this month over 41,000 readers downloaded free copies of a novel by New York Times bestselling author Jasinda Wilder, which had been pirated. The incident, Wilder estimated, cost her roughly $168,000 in royalties.

“Most of us indie authors know plagiarism is out there,” says Wilder, whose novel Alpha was posted by a Wattpadder earlier this month, under a different author and title. “Some of us ignore it, and others hire companies to do take down.”

Even though Wilder pays two companies to search for illegal postings—one found close to 32,000 of them—it’s unlikely that any company could have found Wilder’s pirated work on Wattpad. The plagiarizer gave the book a new name, My Dominant Alpha, along with new cover art. The title was also posted by a different user: Amyleigh153. Because Wattpad pirates are now changing basic, but key, elements of the original work, they have become an even more worrisome issue for authors on the website.

It was a reader who ultimately brought Amyleigh153’s work to Wilder’s attention. It took another 18 hours, from when Wilder initially contacted Wattpad, for the site to remove the work.

. . . .

 Plagiarizers on sites like Wattpad often commit their crimes to develop a following, so that they can rely on an established audience to purchase their own paid work.

Link to the rest at Publishers Weekly and thanks to J.A. for the tip.

Netflix Has A Surprising Relationship With Piracy Sites

18 September 2013

From Business Insider:

It’s easy to imagine that Netflix despises pirating websites that allow people to download movies and TV shows for free. After all, it only takes some Internet digging and a lax moral code to find the gratis versions of the same content you would pay $7.99 a month for on Netflix.

Instead, though, file-sharing sites like BitTorrent help Netflix improve its business by making it obvious what shows people want to watch.

Speaking ahead of the company’s launch in the Netherlands, Netflix’s Vice President of Content Acquisition Kelly Merryman said that the company actually checks out piracy websites for ideas about what Netflix should offer. If something is crazy-popular on file-sharing websites, Netflix is more likely to purchase it.

Link to the rest at Business Insider

Illegal downloading is moral squalor

16 September 2013

From The Guardian:

Illegal downloading is a kind of “moral squalor” and theft as much as reaching in to someone’s pocket and stealing their wallet is theft, the author Philip Pullman will say this week.

In an article for Index on Censorship, Pullman, who is president of the Society of Authors, makes a robust defence of copyright laws. He is withering about internet users who think it is OK to download music or books without paying for them.

“The technical brilliance is so dazzling that people can’t see the moral squalor of what they’re doing,” he writes. “It is outrageous that anyone can steal an artist’s work and get away with it. It is theft, as surely as reaching into someone’s pocket and taking their wallet is theft.”

. . . .

Pullman, writer of the His Dark Materials trilogy, says authors and musicians work in poverty and obscurity for years to bring their work to the level “that gives delight to their audiences, and as soon as they achieve that, the possibility of making a living from it is taken away from them”.

He concludes: “The principle is simple, and unaltered by technology, science or magic: if we want to enjoy the work that someone does, we should pay for it.”

. . . .

Casserly argues that there is much wrong with copyright, which was created “in an analogue age”. She writes: “By default, copyright closes the door on countless ways that people can share, build upon, and remix each other’s work, possibilities that were unimaginable when those laws were established.”

She says artists need to think creatively about how they distribute and monetise their work, quoting the science fiction writer Cory Doctorow who said: “My problem is not piracy, it’s obscurity.”

Link to the rest at The Guardian and thanks to Nick for the tip.

HBO: We Know You’re Pirating ‘Game Of Thrones’ And That’s Fine

9 August 2013

Since ebook piracy is a continuing topic of discussion.

From Business Insider:

Yesterday Time Warner Inc. — the owner of HBO — released its quarterly earnings.

During the earnings call, Tuna Amobi of S&P U.S. Equity Research Services asked CEO Jeff Bewkes what he thought of “Game of Thrones” being the most pirated show on television.

. . . .

Essentially, Bewkes goes so far as to say that internet piracy is downright awesome for HBO.

HBO grows by gaining subscribers, and it gains subscribers mostly by word of mouth. In the old days, that word of mouth included neighbors inviting neighbors over to enjoy their HBO subscription, or even cases of people stealing cable just to score HBO.

. . . .

Tuna Amobi: Game of Thrones has obviously had a phenomenal performance, but one other issue that has come up with regards to that title is the online piracy. I think by all accounts one of the highest pirated shows and I’m not aware what you guys have done to kind of address that. It seems that you have viewed it as kind of a compliment in terms of looking the other way so much. Is that the right way of thinking? Kind of a paradigm shift with the piracy and its impact on shows going forward that what you’ve done. 


Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes: To end on Game of Thrones on HBO, I have to confess I think you’re right. I have to admit, our first reaction to how much people want to watch it — now first of all it’s got ratings of 14, 15 million — a lot of it is VOD  on your TV system, an increasing amount of it is VOD on your [HBO]Go Service.

It’s just really strengthening not just the image, but the engagement of our subs [subscribers] with HBO programming, it’s also getting them familiar and more involved with using the video on demand capabilities of HBO and don’t forget, the television part. The part where you go to your house and you turn on that big screen TV watching it over the video plan, also the HBO Go service where Game of Thrones is the leading introduction manual for how to use HBO Go which more and more people are doing.

Then go to people watching it who aren’t subs, it’s a tremendous word of mouth thing, the issue would be if they were doing it and because they could get it not subscribing, we don’t see much of that.

Basically, we’ve been dealing with this issue for years with HBO, literally 20, 30 years, where people have always been running wires down on the back of apartment buildings and sharing with their neighbors.

Our experience is, it all leads to more penetration, more paying subs, more health for HBO, less reliance on having to do paid advertising — we don’t do a whole lot of paid advertising on HBO, we let the programming and the views talk for us — it seems to be working.

If you go around the world, I think you’re right, Game of Thrones is the most pirated show in the world. Well, you know, that’s better than an Emmy.

Link to the rest at Business Insider

Russia’s Ebook Market Nearly Doubles in 2012

3 July 2013

From Publishing Perspectives:

Despite the recent decline in reading in Russia and the stagnation of the local book market, interest in ebooks continues to grow, as demonstrated by the Knigabayt Ebook Expo recently held in Moscow. A recent infographic released by RBTH, indicates that 70% of Russia’s readers read ebooks, with 50% turning to ebooks in the last three years and 23% in the last year alone.

According to the Russian Association of Online Publishers, the Russian ebook market nearly doubled in 2012, reaching 250 million rubles (USD $8 million), up from 135 million rubles (USD 4.1 million) in 2011.

. . . .

According to Vladimir Kharitonov, the executive director of the Russian Association of Online Publishers, currently total number of ebook readers in Russia is estimated at 20-22 million people and is expected to significantly increase over the next several years.

. . . .

Unfortunately, piracy remains a serious problem. According to representatives of Eksmo, Russia’s largest publishing house, up to 95%% of all downloads of ebooks are pirate copies, something at results in the annual losses to the industry of 4 billion rubles (USD$120 million).

Link to the rest at Publishing Perspectives

What You Need to Know about Book Piracy

20 May 2013

From Claire Ryan at The Raynfall Agency:

Okay, we all know about this. Piracy, the great and terrifying force that’s destroying authors’ means to make a living on one hand, and getting their work in front of thousands of new readers on the other. There’s plenty of conflicting information out there.

. . . .

1. Piracy is not something that can be stopped.

This is because of the limits of technology. Sorry, guys. It’s not possible to stop piracy completely through technological means. If there was a way to do it, the big media companies would have found it by now, seeing as they’ve spent the last ten plus years throwing millions of dollars at the problem.

Now, having said that, let me elaborate a little. It’s possible for you to prevent your work from being pirated if you never publish it and keep it on your hard drive or in your notebooks forever. I’m assuming, though, that you intend to actually publish your work, or you’re already published.

. . . .

2. Piracy can be reduced, however.

You can, in fact, cut the rate of piracy. You know what’s working for the big media companies, whether they like it or not?

Netflix, and iTunes.

Think about it. What do these things have in common? They make it really, really, REALLY easy for a user to access the content. Netflix is a monthly fee, all you can eat option; iTunes is a one-click buy. This is what you want to aim for, when you’re selling your books. Piracy takes time and effort that plenty of readers just don’t have, but they’ll do it if they feel they have to. If you want to sell your book and restrict it to the US, for example, you better accept that it’ll be pirated outside the US by fans who don’t want to wait around for their local release. If you make your book inconvenient to read for some users, say by adding DRM, then they’re likely to pirate it to get a copy that ‘just works’.

. . . .

6. People have lots of reasons for pirating.

It’s not always about the money. When it comes to ebooks, it’s really not about the money. Everyone can afford a few bucks for a book. The denizens of the Internet are used to getting their content instantly and conveniently, to the device of their choice, in the format of their choice. Take away some part of this, and they’ll resort to technical means to get it back.

Link to the rest at The Raynfall Agency

Simon & Schuster will give authors direct access to piracy data for their books

22 March 2013

From Paid Content:

Simon & Schuster will offer authors data on how and when their books are being pirated online, CEO Carolyn Reidy said Thursday.

Simon & Schuster, like many other publishers, works with a company called Attributor “to track and remove infringing copies of digital, audio and print titles published by Simon & Schuster from online sites.” Authors will now have access to Attributor’s data through the Simon & Schuster Author Portal, which also lets them track their book sales. Literary agents will have access to the data as well.

Link to the rest at Paid Content and thanks to L for the tip.

DRM has nothing to do with piracy

21 March 2013

From ZDNet:

Is DRM really about controlling piracy, or does it serve a different function altogether?

In a Google+ conversation, Google engineer Ian Hickson argues that digital rights management (DRM), often found embedded within products including DVDs and eBooks to prevent unauthorized copying or use, is not in place to protect firms from the prevalence of piracy.

Instead, Hickson argues that this belief is based on “faulty logic,” and it is actually used as a tool to give content providers power over playback device manufacturers, as distributors cannot legally distribute copyrighted material without permission from the content provider. So, those who offer media, including games and film, gain leverage in how the files can be used and shared, as well as the means to tap into additional revenue streams.

Link to the rest at ZDNet

Why I Stopped Pirating and Started Paying for Media

15 March 2013

From LifeHacker:

Let’s be honest for second: most of us have illegally downloaded something in our lives. Maybe it was a song, some software, a game, or a movie. For a period I pirated everything I could. As technology pushed forward, it became less necessary, and now I don’t even bother. Here’s why.

. . . .

The bulk of my pirating ways happened in the mid to late-2000’s during that awkward time when media companies were fighting the inevitable internet download ecosystem, and prices for digital versions were often higher than the boxed equivalents. It was a time when no one was really doing digital correctly, when experiments were happening everywhere, and when sites and stores were popping up (and being shut down) repeatedly. Essentially, if you wanted to go digital, nobody was making it easy for you.

. . . .

98% of my music piracy was just downloading copies of what I already owned on vinyl. Before download codes were included with records, you had to purchase an album twice if you wanted to listen to it on the go. As a (former) wannabe audiophile with a love for vinyl, this didn’t fall within my tiny budget.

Basically, the lack of a consistent shopping ecosystem or any type of trial service made digital downloads a risk. Sure, shareware, demos, and 30 second samples existed, but they were rarely helpful. It was just easier to pirate something than it was to get it legitimately.

. . . .

A lot of this DRM put absurd restrictions on the devices you could use, or worse, locked it onto one specific piece of hardware or software. This meant if you wanted to jump between devices, your content was stuck on old hardware.

. . . .

In fact, the main reason I stopped pirating is that now, piracy takes too many steps. It’s now a better experience to download something from a legitimate source than it is to pirate it. In fact, I hardly even noticed that I’d stopped pirating—it just kind of happened.

. . . .

It might have taken media companies a lot longer than it should have, but it’s now incredibly easy to download anything you want, to any device, for a reasonable cost. These downloads sync across accounts (and more often than not, devices as well) so they’re accessible everywhere. They have interfaces that are easy to understand and easy to use.

Link to the rest at LifeHacker

Amazon AutoRip service gives out free digital copies of CDs

11 January 2013

From the BBC News:

Online retailer Amazon has launched a service that stores free digital versions of CDs bought via its store.

AutoRip, which is only available in the US, will automatically keep a digital copy of eligible CDs in a customer’s cloud storage account.

Customers will be able to access the music via Amazon’s Cloud Player on the web or via tablet and smartphone apps.

Amazon has drawn up a catalogue of 50,000 CDs that are eligible for AutoRip.

. . . .

The catalogue has been compiled from those albums that have proved most popular with Amazon customers in the last 15 years.

The list includes “Dark Side of the Moon” by Pink Floyd, “Thriller” by Michael Jackson and “21” by Adele.

Any customer who has bought a CD in the catalogue from Amazon since the firm started trading in 1998 will be eligible to get a free MP3 copy of it. Amazon said it anticipated creating copies of millions of CDs.

Link to the rest at the BBC and thanks to John for the tip.

UPDATE: If you visit the AutoRip Page, you’ll see that Amazon is using the AutoRip feature to sell CD’s that are included in the program.

Next Page »