Libraries Are The Best Counter To Piracy… So Of Course Publishers Are Trying To Limit Them
from the that-other-foot-still-looks-perfectly-functional! dept
Interesting blog post by Peter Brantley over at Publishers’ Weekly last week, mocking the big publishers for supporting SOPA/PIPA, despite the fact that it (1) won’t stop much, if any, infringement, but (2) will have massive unintended consequences. The first half of the post focuses on SOPA/PIPA and uses the recent Cory Doctorow talk we wrote about to highlight how this is yet another example of old line content businesses not understanding how the technology works. So, he explains how these publishers shot themselves in the foot by not understanding the tech and basic economics:
Instead of heeding Tim O?Reilly?s 10 year old lesson that making content available in desirable places under terms that users accept is the most profitable path, publishing has implicitly decided to attempt to control something they have no adequate understanding of, and can never really control: computing and the internet. They?ve shot themselves in the foot.
But, from there, he notes that they’re actually making it even worse… by going after libraries. This is something that we had recently written about as well. Publishers are increasingly trying to limit what libraries do. But as Brantley notes, libraries are actually a great weapon against unauthorized file sharing, so trying to limit them is doubly stupid:
And what I find most darkly amusing is that they weren?t content to stop there. The one place in the book distribution ecosystem where piracy is most efficiently defeated, where users have access to content for free but under carefully controlled circumstances, have been libraries. Libraries have always been the best counter to piracy. And instead of cementing a relationship with libraries that works to the benefit of all parties, publishers have steadfastly withdrawn the ability of libraries to provide free content, even when it is available for only limited borrowing periods, or only a restricted number of titles, with severe constraints on sharing and copying. Instead, they have indicated an interest in the commercialization of libraries by encouraging rental models.
This is all too common in the legacy entertainment business. Rather than understanding stuff, they just keep shooting themselves in the foot. Even worse? They then blame everyone else for it, too.