Pirates set sail for the publishing industry
There’s some interesting writing in today’s Sydney Morning Herald (or, to get date-line technical, tomorrow’s Sydney Morning Herald) about the coming wave of e-book piracy.
Nothing surprising about that development. Piracy swept across the music industry—famously, cataclysmically—many years ago. It’s now one of the movie industry’s night terrors. And as more and more reading is done in digital form, on tablets and Kindles, it’s guaranteed to rock the publishing business too.
But I do love the point made in a sidebar that among the present curbs on book piracy are the “ethical concerns of older buyers”—as if feeling a twinge of conscience about swiping an author’s work were some generational quirk. It brings up the image of a grandmother sorting through her purse while saying, “No, no, young man/young lady, you must have something for all your efforts, I insist!”
Doesn’t she realize that information wants to be free, whether it’s in the form of a half-assed tweet that takes seconds to write or a 500-page block of text that costs its lone maker years of his or her life to dream up, research, and put together?
It’s time to stick it to these fat-cat authors. You’re a consumer—you have a right to it all! Yes, many of your other rights—to privacy, to a job that can’t be pulled out from under you on a whim, to political options more varied than models of flat-screen TV—are becoming outmoded. Might as well make the most of this one!