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<nettime> Wired News: Pirates Invade Book Publishing
Jeffrey Fisher on 22 Sep 2000 17:21:50 -0000


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<nettime> Wired News: Pirates Invade Book Publishing


These seem to me the most relevant sentences in the story:

"Piracy won't be stopped, either by digital rights management or by
lawsuits, according to a new report that Forrester Research issued Tuesday.
The report suggests that as piracy increases and authors break away from
publishers to go independent, book publishers will lose $1.5 billion by
2005." 

even the bit that tries to explain how this is bad for authors is about how
there are "bootleg" copies of stephen king's _the plant_/ the thing about
that, of course, is that king has nonetheless concluded that enough people
are paying him enough money that, barring significant changes in the
patterns of paying behaior, it's still very well worth it for him to finish
the book.

j

___________

Pirates Invade Book Publishing
by M.J. Rose 

3:00 a.m. Sep. 22, 2000 PDT

For at least a month, pirated copies of dozens of best-selling novels by
authors such as Stephen King and J.K. Rowling have been
available for free download via links from a site called #Bookwarez.

By following links listed on #Bookwarez's message board, Wired News found
many sites offering bootleg books.





See also: 
Reno Talks Tough on Piracy
Movie Studios on the Warpath
DeCSS Gag Injunction Appealed
Congress Next in Copyright Tiffs
Govt. Says Napster Violates Law





Following one link, we downloaded the complete e-book version of Frank
McCourt's Angela's Ashes. From other links we were able to
obtain full text versions of Rowling's Harry Potter books, King's The Green
Mile and The Stand, Tom Clancy's Red Storm Rising, Carl
Sagan's Contact and dozens more.

Members of #Bookwarez have access to even more titles.

Simon & Schuster, which publishes McCourt and King, is aware of the site and
is taking the problem very seriously, said company
spokesman Adam Rothberg.

The owner of the #Bookwarez Internet relay chat channel did not respond to
emails requesting comment.

While illegal copies of books have been surfacing online for quite some
time, an industry source who requested anonymity said that
#Bookwarez is the largest site discovered to date.

Judy Corman, spokeswoman for Rowling's publisher, Scholastic, said that
pirated copies have appeared online before. But she said
Scholastic was unaware of the current situation and would begin an
investigation. 

"Our lawyers are all over it when illegal copies appear. We are really
diligent," Corman said.

Piracy of copyrighted material has been a part of the Internet scene for
some time. The music file-trading application Napster is
perhaps the most prominent case making its way through the court system.
Scour, a video file-trading application, is another.

Penguin Putnam, Clancy's publisher, was not aware of #Bookwarez, but will
begin investigating "this afternoon," a company
spokesman said. "And if we discover a copyright violation we will take the
appropriate legal action."

One difficulty in taking legal action is that sites such as #Bookwarez are
moving targets. 

"They use chat venues which make tracking difficult because there are no
permanent records," said Internet consultant R.H. Dale.
"The sites simply operate until they get caught, close down, and reappear
under a new name within 24 hours. Within minutes of
reopening, all chat subscribers are emailed the new address."

Piracy won't be stopped, either by digital rights management or by lawsuits,
according to a new report that Forrester Research issued
Tuesday. 

The report suggests that as piracy increases and authors break away from
publishers to go independent, book publishers will lose
$1.5 billion by 2005.

"Consumers have spoken; they demand access to content by any means
necessary," said Eric Scheirer, an analyst at Forrester.

If there's any consolation for book publishers, access to this particular
hub, while not restricted, requires a fairly sophisticated
computer user to figure out how to get the books, Simon & Schuster's
Rothberg said. 

Allan Adler, vice president for legal and government affairs for the
Association of American Publishers, said that it is hard to put a
dollar amount on the possible loss from piracy since the industry can't yet
estimated what its digital market will be.
"But it is certainly a problem because as fast as new encryption software
for e-books is created, someone finds a way to break it," he
said. 

Even the newest secure format doesn't remain a secret for very long.

"We found a pirated Harry Potter book available online in the Microsoft
Reader format within a few days of the format being
released," Adler said.

And print books are even simpler to put online, given that they are mostly
text and that scanning equipment is relatively
inexpensive. 

Adler warned that if copyrights continue to be treated in this fashion, the
possibility exists that the publishing industry will be forced
to stop making content available online altogether.

The industry, he said, has not had sufficient time to create business models
to counter the rapidly developing technology that allows
people to illegally post material and for the public to access it.

New models, such as offering e-books for such a low price that no one will
feel the need to steal them, are being assessed.

"But even Stephen King has found that a dollar is too much for some people,"
Adler said, referring to the fact that bootlegged copies
of The Plant have been discovered online. King has offered his
self-published book to readers for $1 a chapter.

In conjunction with Microsoft, the AAP has set up an initiative to deal with
online piracy that focuses on coming up with better
encryption methods, creating more realistic ways to enforce copyright laws,
and educating the public about the problem.

In addition, other programs are being implemented to identify copyright
violations, pursue violators and work with law enforcement
agencies. 

These efforts focus on monitoring and responding to the unauthorized
reproduction and distribution of books, as well as the
unauthorized distribution of information or programs that help to break
security technologies.

An Internet monitoring program includes an automated, intelligent search
tool that looks for pirated e-book content 24 hours a day,
seven days a week. 

"No matter what," said Adler, "we are facing a serious problem because once
you put digital files online, there is no foolproof way to
protect them." 

As one author whose work has been pirated said, "It is interesting that
people love authors so much they want to steal from them." 

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