I can't have a conversation with a book publisher these days without e-books, electronic price-points, and the issues of online piracy and illicit file-sharing entering into the discussion. If anyone doubts this industry is actively trying to offer their wares to digital consumers as seamlessly and freely (free as in "free of unreasonable constraints") as possible, they should sit down for a chat with an actual publisher.
But for a small segment of society, it seems, honest attempts at innovation and business adaptation can never move quickly enough, and some products can never be free enough (free as "hey, look what I just found -- since no-one is right here beside me claiming ownership, this thing must belong to me").
Thanks to QuillBlog and IP lawyer Barry Sookman for the link to these "Confessions of a Book Pirate."
"I do not pretend that uploading or downloading unpurchased electronic books is morally correct, but I do think it is more of a grey area than some of your readers may."...
"In truth, I think it is clear that morally, the act of pirating a product is, in fact, the moral equivalent of stealing… although that nagging question of what the person who has been stolen from is missing still lingers. Realistically and financially, however, I feel the impact of e-piracy is overrated, at least in terms of ebooks."...
"I’ve debated doing some newer authors and books, but I would need to protect myself better and resolve the moral dilemma of actually causing noticeable financial harm to the author whose work I love enough to spend so much time working on getting a nice e-copy if I were to do so."
Please note: I personally disagree with all of the shaky moral and ethical rationales presented by piracy advocates. I link to this "confessions" article as information only.
As the writing and publishing industry spreads itself more and more into the digital marketplace, the lost sales and financial harm resulting from book piracy will presumably become more "noticeable."