What To Do When Artists Who Otherwise 'Get It' Freak Out Over 'Piracy'

from the wait-it-out dept

A few weeks ago, reader cofiem sent over a blog post from musician Darren Hayes complaining about recording studios shutting down and blaming "piracy" for it. This morning, our submissions engine is getting overwhelmed with submissions about Wil Wheaton's rant against someone who posted a copy of Wheaton's audiobook, saying the guy is "stealing" from him.

Of course, we see content creators complaining about "piracy" or falsely claiming that it's "stealing" all the time -- but these two cases are slightly different. They're both cases where the content creators seem to be folks who otherwise actually do seem to "get it." They both do an amazing job connecting with fans, and setting up smart "reasons to buy." Hayes, for example, created a DVD "collectors' item" to go with his latest album. And he has a fan club setup, that encourages fans to pay a small fee to get all sorts of valuable (scarce) extras, beyond just the music. Wil Wheaton, of course, has been online for ages, and really interacts with lots of fans, and when he released his audiobook he made it cheap and didn't put DRM on it at all.

In other words, these are both the sort of content creators who are doing all the kinds of "right moves" that we talk about all the time, and seem to be getting rewarded for it. So, of course, it's disappointing to see them overreact and go a bit on the ballistic side when they see people sharing their works in some format -- but it's not that surprising. It's a perfectly natural reaction if you're not immersed that deeply in thinking through the long term implications of these things to simply not like it when people treat your works in a way other than you intended. There's nothing really wrong with that.

However, the question then comes up about what should be done about it. How do you respond to such people? It seems the smartest thing to do is to openly explain the other side of the coin: how these efforts can be embraced to further all of the really smart things that these content creators have already done. It's about getting them to realize that as scary as "the new world" is, one of the things they have to come to accept is that they can't necessarily control what others end up doing with their works. They can't dictate the terms by which fans will be fans. But, what they can do is try to put in place systems and models that benefit them when such things happen. Use that free sharing to encourage people to become stronger, more committed fans, and open up new places and opportunities to potentially offer them a reason to buy -- on their terms -- down the road.

It's never a huge surprise when someone who hasn't thought through this stuff carefully starts ranting about pirates and "stealing." But when it's someone who otherwise seems to get it, the situation is more one of disappointment. However, in most cases, those folks are at least open to listening to reason, and listening to their community, who can explain back to them ways in which they can benefit, rather than complain or blame. And, in fact, with Hayes, it looks like he took some of his community's words to heart and noted that there can be future models where "piracy" isn't necessarily a huge problem (though he's still unsure of how it works). Hopefully Wil Wheaton will listen to his community as well -- and let them point out how many other authors who have put their works online for free have seen that it tends to increase their fan community and increase sales over time.


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  1.  
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    Lucretious, Oct 7th, 2009 @ 3:39pm

    Wil Wheaton is a reasonably intelligent person and is pretty well connected with his fans. He's also well versed in how things work on the net. This is probably a knee-jerk reaction on his part. He'll come around.

     

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    Marcus Carab (profile), Oct 7th, 2009 @ 3:46pm

    Re:

    I tend to agree. I read his original statement and I found nearly all of it to be rational and well-reasoned, and it focused on simply reminding people that he'd really prefer them to buy his fairy cheap books, rather than scolding them for what they'd done. It was mostly the line where he said it was "no different than walking into a store, putting an audio book under your jacket and walking out with it" (or something along those lines) that annoyed me.

     

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    Zerhackermann, Oct 7th, 2009 @ 4:06pm

    I read Wil's post. And while I normally agree completely with you AND I do believe that Wil has a poor choice of words there - I do see the point he was trying to make: Posting the content without seeing if Wil wanted to do that Wil considers to be rude and inconsiderate. Yes I get that infinite goods are infinite and it is silly to treat customers badly because you want to restrict thier use of it...nevertheless it seems to me that if an artist "gets it", as a connected, enthused and pleased fan - wouldnt I want to be certain that what you were doing was what the artist wanted? And it seems to me that the dialogue is *precisely* what we want as consumers and producers.

     

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    thublihnk (profile), Oct 7th, 2009 @ 4:07pm

    I was one of the readers who submitted the story-- and if you look through the blog comments (at least as of last night) Wil's community is pretty firmly on his side.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 7th, 2009 @ 4:23pm

    The other thing that pissed him off was the person hosting his book had ads and a paypal donation button on the site.

     

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    ttrygve, Oct 7th, 2009 @ 4:30pm

    How to react to someone who almost completely agrees with you, but occasionally does something slightly different than you suggest?

    Well I don't know, it probably involves some sort of intensive reeducation, likely involving electroshock therapy, at the very least. </sarcasm>

    Geez, get a grip. And you accuse *them* of overreacting? It is possible, you know, for reasonable people to disagree at times, cut them some slack for not enabling you to say "See, they agree too. We're right again, go us!"

     

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    vfxguy (profile), Oct 7th, 2009 @ 4:32pm

    Interestingly enough, it is going to be Wil's measured reaction that is going to benefit him greatly from this incident.

    I have kept up with Wil's blogs on and off for a few years and agree that he is one of the ones that gets it. His blog about someone posting his content for free was well done. He (for the most part) does not rail against his fans who would like the free material. He is very careful NOT to call out the other site and drive traffic there and he reminds everyone that he is trying to make a living.

    What has happened today? The social media sites have picked up the story and drove a huge amount of traffic to his site. Millions of people are going to find out that Wil has a new audiobook out there (I certainly didn't know) and now reddit and others are starting drives to support Wil by purchasing his audiobook on his site.

    So even though I don't think he calculated this approach, he is going to benefit greatly from his blog against the guy posting his book. So I think he still gets it.

     

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    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Oct 7th, 2009 @ 4:36pm

    Re:

    "Wil Wheaton is a reasonably intelligent person and is pretty well connected with his fans. He's also well versed in how things work on the net. This is probably a knee-jerk reaction on his part. He'll come around."

    I doubt it. His position is pretty much, 'Yeah, you *can* do that. But you shouldn't. Because then you'd be a dick."

    So, yes, you can get a free copy of Wil's book, but the price is dickatude. I'm pretty irreverent when it comes to 'piracy,' but I don't want to end up on that side of Wil's ledger.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 7th, 2009 @ 4:48pm

    At the end of the day, Wil is angry at the right person, the guy who put it online and gave it away. That is violating his copyright, stealing is the nice term used to cover it.

     

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    Dark Helmet (profile), Oct 7th, 2009 @ 4:51pm

    Er?

    Based on what I've read Hwill Hwheaton is a pretty stand up guy. So what the hell is Hwill Hwheaton's problem? Did Patrick Stewart give Hwill Hwheaton some bad advice?

     

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    Michael Kohne, Oct 7th, 2009 @ 4:55pm

    Wil Wheaton...

    Where is Wil's response wrong? I mean, he owns the copyright on the work, and he sells it. It's not like he's uselessly wasting money on lawyers - he just called the guy out for being a jerk and a pirate. OK, yea, he used the word steal, which isn't correct. That's a relatively minor point, don't you think?

    If you think Wil has over-reacted then you've got no understanding of human emotion. You CAN'T ask creators not to get annoyed by people who pirate their works. It's not reasonable.

    And you can't expect them to just let it blow over them and go on. When you get annoyed, you have to let off steam somehow. And Will did it by calling a pirate a pirate in public.

    Will this make one whit of difference to the actions of the jerk in question? Probably not. Does that matter to Wil? Probably not. Now that he's said his piece, I expect that he'll go right on with all of the cool stuff he does that connects him to his fans.

    You probably need to cool down just a little - taking everyone to task publicly for every incorrect use of the word steal is not really necessary.

     

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    Paul_Tamm (profile), Oct 7th, 2009 @ 4:58pm

    Link confirms your arguement

    This is a link from an article from Digital Noise, written by Matt Rosoff that confirms your arguement. Selling CDs is no way to make a living.

    http://news.cnet.com/8301-13526_3-10369956-27.html?part=rss&subj=news&tag=2547-1_3-0-5

    A very low percentage of artist are making money from CDs or from downloads. Matt Rosoff's advice is for artist to not "worry about devaluing your recordings by selling them cheap or giving them away--worry about getting enough fans to hear them so they'll be interested in coming to your shows, and dragging a few friends with them. "

     

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    RD, Oct 7th, 2009 @ 5:41pm

    Right

    "It was mostly the line where he said it was "no different than walking into a store, putting an audio book under your jacket and walking out with it" (or something along those lines) that annoyed me."

    Me too and here is why. Using this same "reasoning", if I go to the library and "walk out with the book under my jacket", Will doesnt get paid either. If I buy it, how many times will I listen to any given audiobook? Lets say 5 times before I either sell it, give it away, or never listen to it again. If I go to the library instead those 5 times and check it out, I have now "stolen" from Will (or whomever). See the problem with these rationalizations? They just lead to bigger and bigger exaggerations of what is happening, sounding sillier and sillier the more loudly they are proclaimed.

    And dont tell me its just semantics either. These big media companies spend lots of time and money coming up with creative and elaborate ways to redefine terms so they can incite politicians to make laws in their favor, and demonize an entire category of their consumer base.

     

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    You Are How Old?, Oct 7th, 2009 @ 5:53pm

    Re: Er?

    No it was Stewie giving Will Hwheaton bad advice.

     

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    ritchie70, Oct 7th, 2009 @ 6:49pm

    Re: Right

    People always trot out "well if I get it from the library he doesn't get paid, either."

    Well you know, he did get paid. The library paid for that physical piece of media, and they loan it out in the context of a physical piece of media. One person at a time can have it and use it, and the rest of the library's patrons can't.

    If a high enough number of the library's patrons want the item, the library doesn't copy it, they buy another one. Wil would get paid for that one, too.

    If you want a copy to listen to once, go get it from the library, or buy it then sell it used.

    If you want a copy to have and hold forever, buy it.

    As someone else said, Wil's basic thesis is "if you download my audio book without paying, you're a dick."

    He doesn't say you should go to jail, or be strung up by your toes. Just that it makes you a dick.

    I agree.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 7th, 2009 @ 7:14pm

    Re: Re: Right

    Because insulting your fans is the best way to keep them, of course.

     

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    sketchydave (profile), Oct 7th, 2009 @ 7:40pm

    "Because insulting your fans is the best way to keep them, of course."

    First off, his fans would not download it. That is one of the more important messages of the blog post. Wil Wheaton maintains an active blog, writes several columns, and produces podcasts for his fans. Not only free, but under a Creative Commons share-alike license. He gives a ton of content for free. What he does to make a living, and feed his family, is create premium content for his fans to purchase. And he does it DRM free as he does not feel his consumers should be treated like criminals or that they should lose content that they purchased because after 5 years an authentication server goes splut or that file format is no longer supported on the latest gadget those kids are buying these days.

    He is for the rights of consumers and he is for his rights as a content creator. He also has rights as a producer, director, distributor, etc. This is done by him pretty much exclusively. So when he says that if you download it you are stealing from him he's a lot closer than most other artists.

    Now for the great part that I think he missed out on but works in his favor. Downloads do not equal sales. Chances are if you were going to download it from a shady site you were not going to purchase it. Its a dick move for sure, but it won't affect his bottom line. Instead he wrote about it and got a discussion going.

    Memories of the Future comes out next week and he has several hawesome podcasts already on the site about it available for free, this time straight from the author

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 7th, 2009 @ 8:07pm

    ...I'm sorry...does someone need to tell Wil to shut up?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 7th, 2009 @ 8:52pm

    Just like artists should listen to what their fans have to say, it only seems natural that fans should listen to what artists have to say. There are always two sides to a story, and understanding of issues comes from fairly considering each point of view.

     

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    scarr (profile), Oct 7th, 2009 @ 8:55pm

    Re:

    The real irony of his argument is in looking through the blog comments, he's sold a mess of copies of the audiobook as a direct result of this. I'd be curious to know just how many relative to the day before. That might not be a business model, but is an interesting data point.

     

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    B Hames, Oct 8th, 2009 @ 12:10am

    You Don't Seem To Have Gotten It

    I have to disagree with what you are saying about Darren Hayes. I read the blog and he by no means talked about piracy with regard to his own work. He was talking about the effects that is DOES have at other outlets, ie music stores closing down and recording studios closing because labels aren't willing to pay for them anymore.

    I also checked out his website and he also sells his own music on there drm free. The fanclub having spoken privately to a member offers really good value for money, so kudos to him.

    I think he made a lot of very valid points in his blog and I agreed with what he said. I'm no saint I have in the past downloaded music but the way he spoke about it made me rethink and its not something I will ever do again. He had passion for MUSIC and that's where his blog came from. It gave me a lot of respect for him.

     

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    sketchydave (profile), Oct 8th, 2009 @ 5:11am

    "he's sold a mess of copies of the audiobook as a direct result of this."

    Reverse Streisand Effect For the Win!!!

     

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    Another AC, Oct 8th, 2009 @ 5:13am

    Free download?

    Well I have never heard of this guy before, maybe I will go download it, if it is any good I will buy it, if it is not, I won't. If it is really good, I may become a lifelong fan and buy more things from him.

    Isn't that the premise that is typically used on this site?

    This is what is always stated (except for trolls) when music is the topic.

    This is the most basic point of all of these dicussions and if you don't get that you are still behind.

     

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    Derek Cramer (profile), Oct 8th, 2009 @ 5:59am

    The reality of free

    The real issue is that with today's technology, if you don't ASSUME that someone is going to pirate your work (and come up with a business model that works around or with that) you are essentially just "giving it away and praying".

    I like Wil's work a lot, and would buy the hard copy of his book just to support him, but he is essentially just saying "Here is my business model, if you go around it, you are a dick." This would be equivalent to me trying to sell a book for $10 in Washington State, and $15 in Oregon, and just calling everyone in Portland who drove across the river to save a few bucks "Dicks".

    Today, there is no amount of DRM that is going to prevent piracy, it won't even slow it down much. Even only releasing hard-copies will only last until someone gets bored. You HAVE to make free downloads a part of your business model, whether you like it or not.

     

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    Bri (profile), Oct 8th, 2009 @ 7:01am

    Re: Wil Wheaton...

    Gotta agree with you there. It seemed to me that he was more pissed that the guy who put the file up is generating a profit, albeit indirectly, from it, i.e., advertising revenue and donations. I would be pretty pissed too, as that doesn't seem much different than some guy setting up a shop and selling copies of your book on burned CD's and claiming to only charge for the media.

     

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    sketchydave (profile), Oct 8th, 2009 @ 7:03am

    "You HAVE to make free downloads a part of your business model, whether you like it or not."

    Exactly, which is something that he does. Free content in the form of blog postings and articles, free downloads in the form of the podcasts that he creates and the art/photos he releases under creative commons. He is a guy that gets it. Where he makes money is on premium content in the form of books and audiobooks.

     

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    sketchydave (profile), Oct 8th, 2009 @ 7:08am

    "Well I have never heard of this guy before, maybe I will go download it, if it is any good I will buy it, if it is not, I won't. If it is really good, I may become a lifelong fan and buy more things from him."

    Awesome! Rather than start with the pirated material you could download the plethora of material he gives away for free and not download the pirated material. I highly recommend the PAX keynote from 2007:
    http://wilwheaton.typepad.com/wwdnbackup/2007/08/pax-ftw.html

    This way you can see if you enjoy his work without supporting someone who posted the premium content on a shady warez site and keep your computer from getting cyber-herpes.

     

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    Another AC, Oct 8th, 2009 @ 7:42am

    Fighting unauthorized downloads is useless, period.

    If your stuff is good and have a proper business model (which apparently he does), your fans will pay and he has been and continues to be paid.

    That being said, I don't think he should be getting harshly criticized for speaking his mind when he seems to be doing more right than a lot of people.

     

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    nasch (profile), Oct 8th, 2009 @ 8:13am

    Re:

    That is violating his copyright, stealing is the nice term used to cover it.

    If by "nice" you mean "inaccurate".

     

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    nasch (profile), Oct 8th, 2009 @ 8:16am

    Re:

    First off, his fans would not download it.

    Then who do you think is downloading it, people who have no interest in Wil Wheaton? Of course his fans download it.

     

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    Xander C (profile), Oct 8th, 2009 @ 8:36am

    Hold up, I'll let you finish.... But Obama had the best responce against a dick of all time!

    It was a knee-jerk reaction, but when the King of Geekdom denounces you as being a dick, then you kinda deserved it for one reason or another...

    Just saying.

     

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  32.  
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    David, Oct 8th, 2009 @ 9:35am

    Re: Why studio are closing

    Based on my experience as an artist the reason why studios are closing is because a lot of artist are building their own studio. The cost of having your own quality recording system has significantly decrease. Yet the low cost digital commercial studios and studios that offer a niche service like recording to tape are still profitable. Afterall not all musicians understand audio engineering, are tech savvy and/or want to record in their basement.

     

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    The Infamous Joe (profile), Oct 8th, 2009 @ 10:00am

    Re:

    However, part of "getting it" is that you realize that you no longer have a say over how your infinite goods are spread so you should find a business model that embraces that fact.

    If I was a nice guy I'd ask an artist who doesn't "get it" if I could put their stuff on bit torrent, but if the artist "gets it" then I'd think he/she'd already be okay with it.

    Looks like he didn't get what he thought he got.

    PS- I am not a nice guy.

    PPS- I have not been paid, or otherwise compensated, for this comment.

     

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    Valkor, Oct 8th, 2009 @ 10:08am

    Re:

    Book = scarce item
    Audio book = infinite item

     

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    The Infamous Joe (profile), Oct 8th, 2009 @ 10:09am

    Re:

    That isn't "getting it", Dave. You can't say "Well, he gives a lot of digital stuff away for free, but this other digital stuff he sells, so he gets it."

    The post you replied to is correct. If it's digital (and sometimes even if it's not, re:books) then a smart business model (aka one that "gets it") will ASSUME that it will be pirated and leverage that to increase sales of non-scarce goods.

    I'm beginning to think that he doesn't "get it" as well as everyone gives him credit for.

     

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    rb, Oct 8th, 2009 @ 12:31pm

    Re: Right

    You, sir, are an idiot. If you go to the library to check out a physical copy, someone somewhere paid for that copy.

    When content creators can no longer feed themselves, they will no longer create content

     

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    JEDIDIAH, Oct 8th, 2009 @ 12:42pm

    Re: Wil Wheaton...

    It's hard to object to the piracy of your work and not come off sounding like a total dick. This is just one of those many aspects of "life is not fair".

     

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    sketchydave (profile), Oct 8th, 2009 @ 1:43pm

    "You can't say "Well, he gives a lot of digital stuff away for free, but this other digital stuff he sells, so he gets it.""

    I feel there are two very strong arguments used when defending piracy. First is the sample. Consumers do not want to blindly try something. In the physical world think of Borders or Barnes and Noble. You can pick up a book, flip through it, read some of it, etc. Really get the sense of if its a good read or not. Or think about the listening stations that are set up in music stores for new albums. But you can't leave the store without purchasing the book or the CD.

    You need to provide the same for the digital world. Companies like Amazon "get it." They started providing scans of the table of contents and first few pages of books. Same with short samples of albums. Consumers get a chance to see if they like the content or not. Artists who don't "get it" sue people for doing that and many others that may be in the spirit of fair use if not the letter of the law. So he provides samples and content, I say he "gets it" in that regard.

    Another argument is DRM. I think that DRM is an ungodly concept. It treats your consumers like criminals and is easily circumventable by an advanced user. So it does nothing for piracy problem and screws with the person who actually bought the content. If you purchased your content but didn't want a rootkit installed on your system I can hardly fault you for wandering to PirateBay and snagging a DRM free version. DRM doesn't work and Wil doesn't include it in his content. So I say he "gets it."

    To argue your last point he is not basing his business model on the fact that none of his content will be stolen/pirated/whatever. He isn't sending out DMCAs (although he is well within his rights to), he isn't calling lawers and suing the infringer for eleventy-billion dollars of "lost profit." He didn't even mention who was doing it so as to not drive traffic to the site or illicit a retaliation from his fans.

    Nope, he wrote on his blog about a guy who was being a dick and then moved on.

     

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    sketchydave (profile), Oct 8th, 2009 @ 1:48pm

    It's hard to object to the piracy of your work and not come off sounding like a total dick. This is just one of those many aspects of "life is not fair".

    Wholeheartedly agree! I think that word choice could have been more appropriate and you tend to embellish and say stupid shit when your angry. Choose words carefully and you appear less angry. To quote Comic Book Guy:
    "There is no emoticon for what I'm feeling!"

     

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    sketchydave (profile), Oct 8th, 2009 @ 1:57pm

    Re: Re:

    Good point, circular logic on my part. People who respect his work should not download it. Downloading a non-free digital performance without paying for it is disrespectful. Physical is whole other story. Those fans who did download it should delete it or pay for it.

    I think of it this way, if this was a bootleg copy from a really cool reading he did that was not commercially available then that's cool for fans to download and trade. But sharing the premium content or downloading without paying is a real dick move.

     

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    sketchydave (profile), Oct 8th, 2009 @ 2:03pm

    Re: Re:

    Can you elaborate? Anything that can be digital is infinite. I'm not sure what you meant.

     

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    sketchydave (profile), Oct 8th, 2009 @ 2:04pm

    BTW, I'm the dude who just found the Reply to THIS comment instead of replying to the whole damn thread. Yeah, I'm that guy today.

     

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    sketchydave (profile), Oct 8th, 2009 @ 2:07pm

    Re: Re:

    "You can't say "Well, he gives a lot of digital stuff away for free, but this other digital stuff he sells, so he gets it.""

    I feel there are two very strong arguments used when defending piracy. First is the sample. Consumers do not want to blindly try something. In the physical world think of Borders or Barnes and Noble. You can pick up a book, flip through it, read some of it, etc. Really get the sense of if its a good read or not. Or think about the listening stations that are set up in music stores for new albums. But you can't leave the store without purchasing the book or the CD.

    You need to provide the same for the digital world. Companies like Amazon "get it." They started providing scans of the table of contents and first few pages of books. Same with short samples of albums. Consumers get a chance to see if they like the content or not. Artists who don't "get it" sue people for doing that and many others that may be in the spirit of fair use if not the letter of the law. So he provides samples and content, I say he "gets it" in that regard.

    Another argument is DRM. I think that DRM is an ungodly concept. It treats your consumers like criminals and is easily circumventable by an advanced user. So it does nothing for piracy problem and screws with the person who actually bought the content. If you purchased your content but didn't want a rootkit installed on your system I can hardly fault you for wandering to PirateBay and snagging a DRM free version. DRM doesn't work and Wil doesn't include it in his content. So I say he "gets it."

    To argue your last point he is not basing his business model on the fact that none of his content will be stolen/pirated/whatever. He isn't sending out DMCAs (although he is well within his rights to), he isn't calling lawers and suing the infringer for eleventy-billion dollars of "lost profit." He didn't even mention who was doing it so as to not drive traffic to the site or illicit a retaliation from his fans.

    Nope, he wrote on his blog about a guy who was being a dick and then moved on.

     

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  44.  
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    sketchydave (profile), Oct 8th, 2009 @ 2:09pm

    Re: Re: Wil Wheaton...

    Wholeheartedly agree! I think that word choice could have been more appropriate and you tend to embellish and say stupid shit when your angry. Choose words carefully and you appear less angry. To quote Comic Book Guy:
    "There is no emoticon for what I'm feeling!"

     

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  45.  
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    Donald Rodriguez, Oct 8th, 2009 @ 2:58pm

    How does Wil 'get it'?

    The moment of Wheatonesque clarity for me was a video from some con happening somewhere. Wil was up before an audience, slinging some geek cred in an effort to sell his latest book, with the promise of a reading of three chapters. He was funny, he was entertaining, fun was had by all. As we finally approach the reading he points to the audience and mentions all the people wielding video cameras.

    He states loudly and clearly that this material is released under creative commons share and share alike. Yeah, I dugg that...

    With enough digging, a person, or carefully constructed spider, could probably assemble most of his published work through his blogs, his podcasts, and video of appearances. The books and audio books he sells are for the benefit of his fans and paying for the collected material gives the fans something that is not cobbled together from disparate sources. Additionally, these collected works are published and distributed via a very different model, it isn't filtered through a huge faceless publisher that uses it's artists as cheap content providers, it is effectively from the artist himself. An artist that does have bills to pay.

    With enough time a person could share a playlist of Wil Wheaton videos that covers a lot of what this audiobook is about. This person however is asking for advertising revenue and paypal donations. It's easy to claim that they are only for hosting costs, but I have my doubts. I seriously doubt that anything more than what covers hosting is returned. Isn't this just the same as the faceless publisher that absorbs the majority of the profits derived from the artists work?

     

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  46.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 8th, 2009 @ 3:09pm

    If by "nice" you mean "inaccurate".

    It's no less inaccurate than calling it "sharing".

     

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  47.  
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    John Doe (profile), Oct 9th, 2009 @ 5:56am

    Re: Re:

    "If by "nice" you mean 'inaccurate'."

    No. You are inaccurate. Taking something that's not yours without permission IS stealing, which is also called piracy. What worse, the dude who stole the material is making a profit, which could get him in prison, given copyright law, which dictates that though it's okay to download something for your own pleasure, you're not supposed to give it away others if it's not something you own. That warning is shown as a disclaimer in front of TV shows, movies, and various other mediums all of the time and it still stands to this day.

     

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  48.  
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    JMG, Oct 9th, 2009 @ 6:20am

    50 Hours

    He never should have brought up how long it took him to produce the thing. His post basically calling the guy a dick for sharing his stuff is fine. Once he brings up the time it took, it appears he's looking for sympathy. Unfortunately, saying it took him 50 hours (spread over some months) to produce isn't going to garner any sympathy from those that are against copyright. Most anti-copyrighters feel you should get paid for the work you do. How much 50 hours of Wil Wheaton's time is worth remains debateable. $25/hr...$100/hr...$1000/hr? Trying to convert file sharers into paying customers while bitching that it took you a week's time to create, probably isn't the smartest way to go.

     

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  49.  
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    The Infamous Joe (profile), Oct 9th, 2009 @ 8:12am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Nope, he wrote on his blog about a guy who was being a dick and then moved on.

    But, if he got it, he'd see it as free advertising and, at worst, say nothing and, at best, thank the guy.

    Now, putting up a paypal "donate" button seems a little over the line.

     

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  50.  
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    liz, Oct 9th, 2009 @ 12:30pm

    Re: It seemed to me

    That Wil's biggest complaint against the guy is that he's diverting money AWAY from Wil and into his own pocket through ads and the paypal account.

    Wil has been vocal about allowing people to share his work - the operative word being SHARE. If you're selling it, that's not sharing. If you're selling unauthorized copies and pocketing all the money and not giving him any - how is that not stealing? Or at the very least being a phenomenal douchebag?

    I say kudos to Wil for calling it out.

     

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  51.  
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    Jake, Oct 9th, 2009 @ 9:00pm

    ummm... seems to me the only person here other than the jerk putting up will's audiobook for download who doesn't get it is Michael Masnick for writing such a stupid article about the situation. I hope some day you publish a book and some jerk puts the complete text in pdf format to download on his site and asks for donations for people to keep the site up and running. Maybe then when you're peeved, everyone can tell you to buck up and read your own article. Not that I was planing on it, but I will never take anything you write seriously in the future again. Way to stick up for a fellow author.

     

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  52.  
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    ???, Oct 9th, 2009 @ 10:09pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    No, you are an idiot. Nothing has been taken.

     

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  53.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Oct 9th, 2009 @ 10:26pm

    Re:

    ummm... seems to me the only person here other than the jerk putting up will's audiobook for download who doesn't get it is Michael Masnick for writing such a stupid article about the situation. I hope some day you publish a book and some jerk puts the complete text in pdf format to download on his site and asks for donations for people to keep the site up and running. Maybe then when you're peeved, everyone can tell you to buck up and read your own article. Not that I was planing on it, but I will never take anything you write seriously in the future again. Way to stick up for a fellow author.

    I have written a book, and it's in the public domain. You are free to take it and try to sell it. Good luck to you.

     

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  54.  
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    DK, Oct 10th, 2009 @ 8:41am

    Re: Re: Wil Wheaton...

    Sorry, what you were trying to say is "It's hard to object to the piracy of your work and come off sounding like a total dick."

     

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  55.  
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    sakana, Oct 10th, 2009 @ 4:34pm

    Re: Re: It seemed to me

    I agree - a lot of people here seem to be missing the point that Wil seems to be making in his post. It's not so much that he's got the link up for download, it's that he's trying to get people to give him money for someone else's work. Now that's not cool.

    Sharing is one thing, and I fully support free data. However, I really do consider what this guy is doing to be theft.

     

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  56.  
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    Nj, Oct 11th, 2009 @ 8:32am

    Re: 50 Hours

    "How much 50 hours of Wil Wheaton's time is worth remains debateable. $25/hr...$100/hr...$1000/hr?"

    I don't agree with the entitlement crowd, but I agree it probably doesn't help his case to mention his time input. Though to be perfectly fair, you should remember to include production costs in your estimates.

     

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  57.  
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    AW, Oct 11th, 2009 @ 7:59pm

    I have to agree with some of the comments above. I think Wil is one of those who truly gets it. I think he was far mor unhappy about making money off of something that wasn't his to sell. I usually tend to agree with you Mike but I think you took his message the wrong way.

     

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  58.  
    identicon
    ???, Oct 12th, 2009 @ 2:10am

    Re: Re:

    seriously shut your smug piehole

     

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  59.  
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    sketchydave (profile), Oct 13th, 2009 @ 9:12pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I think that its a bit of a stretch to say that someone who posted an artist's copywritten work on a web site without the artist's permission "free advertising."

    Now if this was a Wil Wheaton fan page or something like that, then I think that argument could be made and could have some legs to it. Or if he was highlighting some snippets as fair use, definitely advertising.

     

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  60.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 13th, 2009 @ 11:18pm

    The word "stealing" is completely accurate for this situation, regardless of whatever convoluted system of justification many of you have come up with. For me to steal something, it does not have to be a "scarce" resource, and it does not have to be a physical resource. I work for a theatre, and often we don't sell every seat in the house. But I would not be pleased if someone sneaked in and sat in an empty seat, even though "they probably wouldn't have paid in the first place" and that seat would have been left empty. My job is to manage inventory, even if it is not barcodeable, physical product. I'm not just going to shrug and hope I somehow get good press from it.

    Sure, problems arise when artists don't realize that changes in technology inevitably lead to changes in business and marketing models, but some blame needs to be placed on consumers when they don't realize that changes in technology do not lead to changes in ethical responsibilities.

    Of course, I am going to change no one's sense of entitlement or smug sense of "Getting It." Keep doing what you're doing; it will not make you unhappy, you will continue to be able to justify it, and there will be no consequences.

     

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  61.  
    identicon
    Daniel Hougey, Oct 13th, 2009 @ 11:19pm

    "Anonymous Coward"

    Sorry, I did not mean to be an "Anonymous Coward." That post above, about working in a theatre, is by me, Daniel Hougey.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  62.  
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    TW Burger (profile), Nov 26th, 2009 @ 12:37am

    Re: Er?

    Say: "Cool Whip."

     

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  63.  
    identicon
    Online Bootleg Movie Downloads, Dec 9th, 2009 @ 3:52am

    Online Bootleg Movie Downloads

    Wil Wheaton is a reasonably intelligent person and is pretty well connected with his fans.Thanks for sharing.

     

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  64.  
    identicon
    Online Bootleg Movie Downloads, Dec 9th, 2009 @ 3:52am

    Online Bootleg Movie Downloads

    Wil Wheaton is a reasonably intelligent person and is pretty well connected with his fans.Thanks for sharing.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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